Use and waste management of restorative materials in the Republic of Ireland


This study found that dentists in Ireland are largely compliant with EU Waste Directive 2008/98/EC relating to dental amalgam.


Aim: This study aimed to investigate the use and waste management of dental amalgam and mercury-free alternatives by general dental practitioners in Ireland.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey-based study was adopted. A 53-question survey was piloted and distributed to dentists working in general dentistry in Ireland. Participants were recruited from the Dental Council of Ireland Dental Register.

Results: A total of 285 dentists (12%) responded to the survey. The study found that resin composite was the most commonly placed restorative material by respondents (69%), followed by dental amalgam (20%). Compliance with waste management of dental amalgam was high, with 93% of respondents reporting having a waste management policy concerning the disposal of waste amalgam and 87% compliance with the fitting of amalgam separators.
Conclusions: The study found that dentists in Ireland are compliant with the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and identified training and remuneration as two of the main barriers to implementing a total phase-out of dental amalgam.

Journal of the Irish Dental Association February/March 2020; 66 (1): 29-35

Aileen Callanan
Research Assistant

Prof. Christopher D. Lynch

Professor and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry

Dr Mairead Hardin
Senior Lecturer in Dental Public Health and Deputy Director, Oral Health Services Research Centre

Dr Francis M. Burke
Senior Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry and Vice Dean Academic Affairs

Dr Martina Hayes
Senior Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry
All at University School and Dental Hospital, University College Cork

Corresponding author:
Dr Martina Hayes, University Dental School and Hospital, Wilton, Cork. E: