Extraction is the most common dental treatment provided for people in rural and suburban areas in many less-industrialised countries. By comparison, restorative care is rarely provided. In order to improve such situations, a treatment technique has been developed based only on hand excavation of carious lesions and using glass-ionomer cement as a filling material and a sealant. This Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART) technique follows the concept of minimal intervention and does not require electrically driven equipment. This paper reports on the longevity of fillings and sealants placed using the technique under field conditions in rural Thailand. Dental caries was treated using the ART technique in one village, whilst the population in a second village received restorative care (amalgam fillings) through mobile dental units. A third village was the control. After one year, 79 per cent of single surface ART fillings and 55 per cent of ART fillings of greater than one surface placed in deciduous teeth were judged successful. The success rate of ART fillings in the permanent dentition (mainly single surface fillings) was 93 per cent and the retention rate for sealants was 78 per cent. Children were pleased at having received treatment by this technique and showed little fear. The ART technique is a promising caries treatment procedure for use in rural and sub-urban areas in less-industrialised countries.