Objectives Against a backdrop of evidence of divergence between dental school teaching and clinical practice in relation to the restoration of posterior teeth, the aim of this study was to investigate the current teaching of posterior resin composites in UK and Ireland dental schools. Methods An online survey was distributed to the 18 dental schools in the United Kingdom and Ireland with dental degree programmes in 2015. This questionnaire sought information in relation to the current teaching of posterior resin composites. Results A 100% response rate was achieved (n = 18 schools). All schools taught the placement of posterior resin composites in occlusal cavities of premolar and molar teeth. One school did not include teaching of two-surface occlusoproximal resin composites in molars and two schools did not include the teaching of three-surface occlusoproximal resin composites in premolar or molar teeth. Students place twice as many posterior resin composites, on average, than restorations of amalgam: posterior resin composites account for 66% of restorations placed (range: 30-80%), while amalgam accounts for 33% (range: 20-70%). Within five years, it is anticipated that this ratio will increase to 78% resin composite: 22% amalgam, with one school indicating they will no longer teach clinical amalgam restoration placement, while an additional seven schools indicate that amalgam will account for 10% or less of posterior restorations placed by students. There is limited exposure to more novel techniques such as bulk-fill materials (seven schools include didactic teaching, but only three include clinical experience of such materials). The Minamata Treaty is not expected to have any short-to medium-Term impacts: more than half of the respondents (n = 9 schools) felt that amalgam would not be phased out until sometime between 2020 and 2025. Conclusions This study has highlighted that the current cohort of dental students, who are the emerging dental workforce, have much more substantial experience in the placement of posterior resin composites than ever before.
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