Root canal therapy is a sequence of treatments involving root canal cleaning, shaping, decontamination and obturation. It is conventionally performed through a hole drilled into the crown of the affected tooth, namely orthograde root canal therapy. For teeth that cannot be treated with orthograde root canal therapy, or for which it has failed, retrograde root filling, which seals the root canal from the root apex, is a good alternative. Many materials, such as amalgam, zinc oxide eugenol and mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA), are generally used. Since none meets all the criteria an ideal material should possess, selecting the most efficacious material is of utmost importance.
To determine the effects of different materials used for retrograde filling in children and adults for whom retrograde filling is necessary in order to save the tooth.
Cochrane Oral Health's Information Specialist searched the following databases: Cochrane Oral Health's Trials Register (to 13 September 2016); the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2016, Issue 8) in the Cochrane Library (searched 13 September 2016); MEDLINE Ovid (1946 to 13 September 2016); Embase Ovid (1980 to 13 September 2016); LILACS BIREME Virtual Health Library (1982 to 13 September 2016); and OpenSIGLE (1980 to 2005). ClinicalTrials.gov and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform were searched for ongoing trials. We also searched Chinese BioMedical Literature Database (in Chinese, 1978 to 20 September 2016); VIP (in Chinese, 1989 to 20 September 2016); China National Knowledge Infrastructure (in Chinese, 1994 to 20 September 2016); and Sciencepaper Online (in Chinese, to 20 September 2016). No restrictions were placed on the language or date of publication when searching the electronic databases.
We selected randomised controlled trials (RCTs) only that compared different retrograde filling materials, with reported success rate that was assessed by clinical or radiological methods for which the follow-up period was at least 12 months.
Two review authors extracted data independently and in duplicate. Original trial authors were contacted for any missing information. Two review authors independently carried out risk of bias assessments for each eligible study following Cochrane methodological guidelines.
We included six studies (916 participants with 988 teeth) reported in English. All the studies had high risk of bias. The six studies examined five different comparisons, including MTA versus intermediate restorative material (IRM), MTA versus super ethoxybenzoic acid cement (Super-EBA), Super-EBA versus IRM, dentine-bonded resin composite versus glass ionomer cement and glass ionomer cement versus amalgam. There was therefore little pooling of data and very little evidence for each comparison.There is weak evidence of little or no difference between MTA and IRM at the first year of follow-up (risk ratio (RR) 1.09; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97 to 1.22; 222 teeth; quality of evidence: low). Insufficient evidence of a difference between MTA and IRM on success rate at the second year of follow-up (RR 1.06; 95% CI: 0.89 to 1.25; 86 teeth, 86 participants; quality of evidence: very low). All the other outcomes were based on a single study. There is insufficient evidence of any difference between MTA and Super-EBA at the one-year follow-up (RR 1.03; 95% CI: 0.96 to 1.10; 192 teeth, 192 participants; quality of evidence: very low), and only weak evidence indicating there might be a small increase in success rate at the one-year follow-up in favour of IRM compared to Super-EBA (RR 0.90; 95% CI: 0.80 to 1.01; 194 teeth; quality of evidence: very low). There was also insufficient and weak evidence to show that dentine-bonded resin composite might be a better choice for increasing retrograde filling success rate compared to glass ionomer cement at the one-year follow-up (RR 2.39; 95% CI: 1.60 to 3.59; 122 teeth, 122 participants; quality of evidence: very low). And there was insufficient evidence of a difference between glass ionomer cement and amalgam at both the one-year (RR 0.98; 95% CI: 0.86 to 1.12; 105 teeth; quality of evidence: very low) and five-year follow-ups (RR 1.00; 95% CI: 0.84 to 1.20; 82 teeth; quality of evidence: very low).None of these studies reported an adverse event.
Based on the present limited evidence, there is insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion as to the benefits of any one material over another. We conclude that more high-quality RCTs are required.