Cochrane Summaries

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Use of antibacterial substances in resin-based fillings to prevent further tooth decay (next to the filling) developing after treatment

Pereira-Cenci T, Cenci MS, Fedorowicz Z, Azevedo M
Published Online: 
17 December 2013

Review question

The main question addressed by this review is how effective the use of antibacterial agents in composite (resin-based, tooth-coloured) fillings might be in preventing the development of further decay either underneath or next to the filling (secondary caries).


When tooth decay (caries) has caused a cavity in a tooth a range of materials can be used as fillings. These include resin composite, glass ionomer cement, amalgam and compomers. Tooth decay that may develop next to or underneath, a filling at a later stage is a common concern in dental practice and may reduce the life span of these fillings. It is thought that including a substance that kills and prevents the growth of bacterial (also known as an antibacterial agent) in some dental fillings, for example resin composites, could help prevent the development of this secondary caries.

Study characteristics

The Cochrane Oral Health Group carried out this review of existing studies and the evidence is current up to 23 July 2013.

The review authors have not found any trials to support or disprove the effectiveness of antibacterial agents incorporated into fillings to prevent further tooth decay.

Key results

No trials were found that were suitable for inclusion in this review.

Quality of the evidence

Currently there is no evidence to support using antibacterial agents in fillings.

This record should be cited as: 
Pereira-Cenci T, Cenci MS, Fedorowicz Z, Azevedo M. Antibacterial agents in composite restorations for the prevention of dental caries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD007819. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007819.pub3
Assessed as up to date: 
23 July 2013