Probing the hierarchy of evidence to identify the best strategy for placing class II dental composite restorations using current materials

J Esthet Restor Dent. 2021 Jan;33(1):39-50. doi: 10.1111/jerd.12686. Epub 2020 Nov 18.


Objective: The objective of this review is to present a synopsis of the existing clinical and in vitro evidence regarding placement of direct class II restorations with dental composites of varying viscosities, focusing on the marginal integrity achievable.

Overview: The literature on class II composites placed with various techniques was searched through PubMed, Scopus, and the citations of identified articles, focusing on aspects related to adaptation and clinical performance. Studies comparing layering of conventional composite to layering with a flowable liner, including the "snow plow technique," use of warmed composite, flowable bulk-fill liners with a conventional composite capping layer, and bulk-fill restorative in a single or incremental fill (including placement with sonic energy and dual-curing) CONCLUSIONS: In vitro and clinical evidence does not support any one specific method or material type for achieving optimal performance when restoring class II cavity preparations with current dental composites.

Clinical significance: Although there are many available placement methods and types of composite materials on the market for use in class II restorations, the reasonable success presented in the clinical and laboratory literature for the various approaches suggests that the most important factor for achieving success is likely careful and proper placement and light-curing technique, independent of the approach.

Keywords: bulk-fill; dental composite; flowable; marginal adaptation; marginal integrity; secondary caries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Composite Resins*
  • Dental Cavity Lining
  • Dental Cavity Preparation
  • Dental Marginal Adaptation
  • Dental Materials
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent*
  • Materials Testing


  • Composite Resins
  • Dental Materials