A promising approach to improve the poor antibacterial properties of dental composite resins has been the addition of metal oxide nanoparticles into the resin matrix. This systematic review aimed to determine whether the addition of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) improves the antibacterial properties of direct dental composite resins. This review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and registered with the PROSPERO database: CRD42019131383. A systematic literature search was conducted using the following databases: Medline (Ovid), the Cochrane Library, SCOPUS, CINAHL, Web of Science, Trove, Google Scholar, World Cat, and OpenGrey. The initial search retrieved 3178 results, which were then screened against inclusion and exclusion criteria, resulting in a total of four studies that were eligible for qualitative synthesis within this review. All the included studies were in vitro non-randomized post-test design experimental studies. A lack of congruity in the results obtained from these studies that used different tests to evaluate antibacterial activity was evident. Although some studies demonstrated a significant improvement of antibacterial properties in composites containing at least 1% ZnO-NPs (wt %), they are unlikely to present any clear clinical advantage due to the short lifetime of observed antibacterial properties.
Keywords: antibacterial agents; composite resin; dental materials; dentistry; nanoparticles; systematic review; zinc oxide; zinc oxide nanoparticles.