Zinc oxide powder as a filling material in primary teeth

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Zinc oxide and propolis mixture shows promising results

Propolis is a compound produced by bees thought to fight infections, heal wounds, and more. Mixed with zinc oxide, the material has demonstrated good clinical results and may be considered as an alternative root canal filling material in primary teeth. (Image: Auhustsinovich/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Mon. 13. July 2020


ANDHRA PRADESH, India: The success of a pulpectomy depends on the elimination of bacteria from the root canal. Researchers have now experimented with a new mixture consisting of propolis, which is a natural product with proven antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and zinc oxide powder as a filling material in primary teeth.

In the study, the clinical effectiveness of the zinc oxide–propolis mixture was evaluated and compared with zinc oxide eugenol (ZOE) as a root canal filling material in non-vital primary molars. Therefore, 40 primary molars from children aged 4–8 years requiring pulpectomy treatment were randomly allocated into two groups according to the obturation material used: zinc oxide–propolis mixture and ZOE (control group). All the pulpectomy-treated teeth were finally restored with stainless-steel crowns, and the children were recalled at six, 12 and 24 months for postoperative clinical and radiographic evaluation.

The overall success rate of the pulpectomies with the zinc oxide–propolis mixture and with ZOE was found to be 95% and 70%, respectively. The zinc oxide–propolis mixture showed a success rate of 100% at the six-month follow-up and 95% at the 12- and 24-month follow-ups, whereas ZOE showed an 80% success rate at six and 12 months, and it declined to 70% at the 24-month follow-up.

In an interview with Dental Tribune International, study author Dr Kakarla Sri Roja Ramya, from the Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry at Vishnu Dental College in Andhra Pradesh, explained why she carried out this research: “Propolis has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties—factors essential for primary tooth root canal filling material—and this gave me the idea. ZOE is a successful root canal filling material in many ways, but eugenol has some disadvantages.” These disadvantages can include low strength, low abrasion resistance and high solubility.

Roja Ramya added that the study findings had matched her initial expectations. However, further clinical trials will need to be carried out in order to authenticate the success she has achieved with the new mixture of materials.

The study, titled “In vivo evaluation of zinc oxide-propolis mixture as root canal filling material in the primary molars: A 24-month follow-up randomized controlled trial”, was published in the April–June 2020 issue of the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry.

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