Restorative materials containing antimicrobial agents: is there evidence for their antimicrobial and anticaries effects? A systematic review

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The aim of this systematic literature review was to investigate whether the incorporation of antimicrobial agents into dental restorative materials truly exerts an antimicrobial effect against common cariogenic bacteria (primary outcome), and whether the inclusion of antimicrobial agents is able to prevent caries around restorations (secondary outcome). MEDLINE, via PubMed, was searched for papers published between 1980 and 30 November 2014. A total of 1126 articles were retrieved. After inclusion/exclusion assessment, 147 full text articles were read and included in the review, comprising 130 in vitro, 1 in situ, and 4 in vivo studies, as well as 12 literature reviews. In about 78% of in vitro studies, and in all identified in situ and in vivo studies, a positive antimicrobial effect had been found. However, the anticaries effect had not been tested in any of the selected studies. It was concluded that there is indeed evidence that restorative dental materials containing antimicrobial agents exert an antimicrobial effect, both in laboratory and in clinical studies. However, no evidence has been found regarding the role of these agents in preventing or controlling dental caries, or in preventing caries around restorations.

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