Dentistry and Medical Research

: 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 59--67

Is zinc oxide eugenol cement still impeding the use of resin-based restoration? A systematic review

Fawaz Pullishery1, Hajer Ayed Alhejoury2, Mohammed Turkistani2, Yasser Refay Souror3,  
1 Department of Community Dentistry and Research, Dentistry Program, Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Dental Intern, Dentistry Program, Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Al-Azhar University, Assuit, Egypt; Division of Pediatric and Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Fawaz Pullishery
Department of Community Dentistry and Research, Dentistry Program, Batterjee Medical College, 21442 Jeddah
Saudi Arabia


Background: The use of zinc oxide eugenol (ZOE), along with resin restoration or cementation, is often a debatable topic in dentistry. This systematic review is aimed to explore the effect of ZOE on various properties of resin-based dental materials. Materials and Methods: An electronic research was carried out using the relevant keywords in different search engines such as MEDLINE/PubMed, Ebscohost, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and EMBASE SciFinder based on PRISMA guidelines. Only articles in the English language were included along with other specific inclusion criteria. Results: The entire articles were assessed for the eligibility and final review included 30 studies that were then classified according to the type of test conducted on the resin-based material. Conclusion: There is no consensus on the deleterious effect of ZOE on resin-based dental material. However, all the tests conducted were in vitro and most of them showed a significant reduction in the quality of resin restorative and cement materials when used with ZOE.

How to cite this article:
Pullishery F, Alhejoury HA, Turkistani M, Souror YR. Is zinc oxide eugenol cement still impeding the use of resin-based restoration? A systematic review.Dent Med Res 2021;9:59-67

How to cite this URL:
Pullishery F, Alhejoury HA, Turkistani M, Souror YR. Is zinc oxide eugenol cement still impeding the use of resin-based restoration? A systematic review. Dent Med Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 20 ];9:59-67
Available from:

Full Text


Since its introduction as dental material in the late 19th century (1890), until now zinc oxide eugenol (ZOE) is widely used by almost all dental specialties including restorative, endodontic, and prosthodontic purposes.[1],[2] The sedative and palliative effect of ZOE on inflamed pulp makes it the most favorable base under final restoration in deep cavities in both primary and permanent teeth with reversible pulpitis and after pulpotomy or pulpectomy in the primary dentition and also as an interim restoration after cavity preparation.[3],[4]

ZOE is usually provided as a powder that mainly contains zinc oxide (ZO), rosin, and zinc acetate, and liquid that contains eugenol, which is responsible for the biological advantages that alleviate pain and reduce pulpal inflammation. Moreover, its antibacterial effect gives a better chance for pulp healing quickly and effectively.[5],[6],[7] Despite its widespread use, ZOE has many drawbacks, and some of them were receded. The general weakness that ZOE had was improved by the incorporation of inert fillers and polymeric binders.[8],[9] Furthermore, these additives enhanced the physical and mechanical properties of ZOE and reduced the burning sensation that the ancient eugenol had. However, controversy still exists regarding the influence of ZOE on the mechanical properties of resin restorations.

Historically, the interaction between eugenol-based cement and resin-based restoration was first reported in 1981.[10] Nonetheless, with the technological advancement and improvement of dental materials manufacturing in addition to the progress in testing technology of dental material properties, it was observed that the eugenol-containing materials have little or no effect on resin-containing restorative or cement materials.[10],[11],[12] This review was conducted to explore the effect of ZOE on resin-based restorative and cement material by examining studies that attempted to explore this effect.

 Materials and Methods

A systematic electronic search was conducted in search engines that included MEDLINE/PubMed, Ebscohost, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and EMBASE SciFinder focusing on evidence-based research articles published from January 1981 to January 2020. The following keywords or phrases were chosen “Eugenol” OR “ZOE” OR “Zinc oxide eugenol” AND “Composite resin” AND “bond strength” OR “shear strength” AND “Microtensile bond strength” AND “Microleakage” AND “Hardness.” Furthermore, the references of identified articles were manually searched for further data. We limited the search to articles that are published in the English language.

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Only in vitro studies that measured the effect of ZOE on resin restoration or cement and that tested the properties of resin restoration or cement with ZOE were only included for our review. The studies with insufficient data, a poor methodology that did not evaluate the properties of ZOE with composite resin restoration or cement and articles in other languages other than English were excluded. Furthermore, in vivo studies, editorials, questionnaire surveys, case reports, letters to the editor, and commentaries were not included.

Two reviewers, HA and FP independently assessed the titles and abstracts of the selected articles by full-text reading. The articles selected after eligibility check underwent a full-text assessment and a collection of study to be evaluated was created. Both authors separately assessed the quality of the methodology of the studies included in our review using the 15-point checklist given by Downs and Black.[13]

Two independent reviewers, YS and MT, did the data extraction and discrepancies in data were rectified by consensus. The information from the selected articles after extraction was then tabulated, and the articles were divided into categories according to the type tests conducted on resin materials. The literature search strategy for the review is summarized in [Figure 1].{Figure 1}


The electronic search identified 371 titles and abstracts, of which 189 were chosen for evaluation. Hence, thirty studies were included in the review. Of the 30 included studies; 1410 extracted teeth (579, 240 primary molars, 591 not specified primary or permanent) were examined in vitro, one study used 160 acrylic resin block and 1 used 60 composite core form, one study examined 15 bovine incisors, two studies used plastic molds, and one study used plastic teeth. Fifteen studies tested ZOE as temporary filling, four studies as base materials, two studies as a sealer, three studies as a root canal filling material in primary teeth, and six studies as a temporary cement before final resin cementation.

Shear bond strength

In our review, we had 15 studies that evaluated the shear bond strength (SBS) of ZOE.[12],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24],[25],[26],[27] Out of this, 7 studies showed a significant influence of ZOE on SBS of composite restorations;[12],[14],[15],[16],[22],[26],[27] 6 studies showed no significant differences with the control groups,[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[23] and 2 studies showed a significant reduction after 24 h exposure time and no significant reduction after 1 and 2 weeks [Table 1].[24],[25]{Table 1}

Tensile bond strength

We included ten studies[26],[28],[29],[30],[31],[32],[33],[34],[35],[36] that evaluated the microtensile bond strength (TBS) of ZOE. Four of them[26],[28],[33],[35] showed a significant reduction in the TBS of composite restorations; four studies[29],[31],[32],[36] showed no significant differences and the other two studies'[37],[38] results varied according to the exposure time of ZOE and adhesive type [Table 2].{Table 2}


The review included three studies[37],[38],[39] that evaluated microleakage, out of which two studies[37],[38] showed a significant increase in composite restoration microleakage when used over ZOE and one study[39] showed no statistically significant difference compared to the control group [Table 3].{Table 3}


To evaluate the microhardness of composite, we had included four studies[11],[26],[40],[41] in this review. Out of these, two of them[40],[41] demonstrated a significant reduction in microhardness when using conventional composite, while one study[40] showed no significant reduction in microhardness when using hybrid composite. Only one study[11] showed no statistically significant reduction of the hardness of composite [Table 4].{Table 4}


This review included 30 articles that evaluated the multiple properties of ZOE cement, which included SBS, TBS, microleakage, and hardness.

Shear bond strength

Fifteen studies investigated the influence of ZOE on SBS with resin-based restoration compared to a control group without ZOE application or other experimental groups with different materials. Regarding the use of ZOE as a sealer, one study with a sample size of 144 extracted molars showed significantly lower resin-dentine SBS in ZOE sealers to eugenol-free sealers as control groups.[15] A recent study conducted by Pires et al.[16] in 32 extracted primary molars, lesser resin-dentine micro-SBS values were reported with ZOE that found premature failure compared to two other root canal filling materials. The conflicting results of SBS in these studies might be due to the differences in adhesive technique, powder-liquid ratio (P:L) of ZOE, and temporization period.

Eight studies[12],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23] mentioned the role of the total-etch system in eliminating eugenol and other temporary filling remnants to obtain proper substrate, which can form a good resin-dentine interface. When using self-etch systems, there is only a shallow degree of demineralization that may not be sufficient to remove eugenol remnants, which might cause a significant reduction in SBS of the composite.[42] This is also supported by findings given by Leirskar and Nordbø, which demonstrated the total removal of eugenol from dentin with 96% ethanol following mechanical removal of ZOE leads to an insignificant reduction of SBS.[19] When P:L ratio decreased (increased eugenol concentration), the total-etch system could not eliminate the adverse effects of eugenol in bond strength. Yap et al. stated that the effect of ZOE is highly dependent on eugenol concentration.[23]

Regarding exposure time effect, two studies that tested ZOE with different exposure time (24 h, 7, or 14 days) showed a statistically significant reduction of SBS only after 24 h exposure time and no adverse effect was reported after a week or 2.[24],[25] These findings show that SBS is influenced both by the period of ZOE exposure and the postremoval delay time.

Tensile bond strength

Nine studies evaluated TBS, and results varied. In 2014, Pinto et al.[30] examined different exposure times of ZOE temporary cement with various adhesives on 40 extracted molars. The results showed that, regardless of adhesive type, with an exposure time of 45 days, results were similar to the control group, and a significant reduction of TBS with 24 h exposure time. Another study with a larger sample size (199 extracted molars) showed different results; the significant reduction was found after 7 and 28 days with a self-etch bonding system.[34] Concerning ZOE and ZO without eugenol, four studies were conducted to test micro-TBS with a total sample size of 72 permanent molars and 15 bovine incisors and the results showed no significant differences between eugenol-containing and eugenol-free temporization and the control groups.[29],[31],[32],[36] One study was conducted in the year 2003 to test the use of ZOE and ZO without eugenol temporary cement on a composite core. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in TBS with eugenol-containing temporary cement.[28] On the use of ZOE as a root canal filling material, a sample size of 90 primary molars was tested with different root canal fillings and different final coronal restoration and a significant reduction in restoration bond strength to pulp chamber dentin was observed in groups where ZOE was used as a root canal filling and composite as final restoration.[33] Another study tested the influence of ZOE sealers on adhesive luting cement (self-polymerized), and the results were a significant bond strength reduction, especially in cervical segments.[35] TBS variations were observed, and this variation was caused by the same factors mentioned in the SBS section (adhesive type, the time factor, and ZOE form).

The rule of using of total-etch can eliminate the negative effect of eugenol and self-etch is insufficient to eliminate eugenol remnants' influence. Of the nine studies, only three studies showed discrepant findings.[29],[34] Double the failure rates of total-etch were reported with self-etch systems.[36] Reduced bond strength can be expected with self-etch adhesives irrespective of the type of temporary filling (eugenol-containing or eugenol-free).[31],[33] It was reported that ZOE's negative effect with a self-etch system could be neutralized after 45 days, while a total-etch system eliminates the adverse effect after 7 days of exposure of ZOE.[30],[32] Three studies showed contradictory findings regarding self-etch and total-etch to that reported in other studies. However, one was done with nonhuman teeth and small sample size (15 bovine incisors), and the results showed no adverse effect with the self-adhesive system.[29] The second study showed a negative effect of ZOE with both self-etch and total-etch, and no effect on the duration of exposure to ZOE was found.[34] This might have contributed to the composition of premeasured IRM capsules used in this study. The third study tested the effect of self-polymerized adhesives, and the total etches in which negative results were reported, in which there was no attempt made to remove eugenol-contaminated dentin.[35] However, this reduction in TBS may be due to the time factor and also due to application of an adhesive after 1 h of ZOE placement.


Bargrizan et al.[37] assessed microleakage of composite restorations in pulpotomized primary molars with different bases covering the ZOE layer. The results showed that the highest microleakage resulted in a group where ZOE was not covered with a base before composite restoration was applied. Another study that tested different root filling materials and their influence on composite restorations showed that the ZOE group showed a significant increase in microleakage compared to other experimental groups on primary canines.[38] The findings were contrasting in another study done on 36 extracted premolar teeth that showed no statistically significant difference.[39] Again, the etching procedures during resin composite restoration might contribute to eliminating the eugenol that may affect resin polymerization.[43]


A study done on a plastic mold with 60 base-composite samples to evaluate the effect of different base materials on the composite hardness that used different composite types (micro-filled systems, visible light-activated and chemically activated, and conventional composite) showed that ZOE softens all types of composites.[41] However, Itskovich et al.[40] in 2014 evaluated the influence of ZOE on microhardness of different types of composite (micro-fill hybrid, micro-hybrid, micro-hybrid nonmethacrylate, and hybrid) using ZOE as a base material and then placing different modern composite and found that only hybrid composite groups showed no significant reduction in microhardness compared to the control group.

Bayindir et al.[28] tested the difference of ZOE and noneugenol cement on a microhybrid composite that showed a significant reduction in microhardness of composite resin with ZOE but no difference seen between noneugenol and control group. Another study done in plastic teeth loaded with both ZOE and composite showed no statistical reduction on microhardness and elastic modulus of a composite at a distance of 100 μm ZOE-composite interface with a bonding system application. However, with the employment bonding system, the hardness of composite was not reduced significantly.[11] It is clear that the eugenol affects the polymerization of the composite, which subsequently reduces its hardness; however, the type of composite and use of the bonding system and the depth of polymerization affection are essential factors to consider before any clinical use of ZOE with a composite restoration.


The result of this systematic review finds that there is no clinical study to confirm the success of using ZOE with resin-based restoration or cementation. However, some recent types of composite restoration showed an insignificant effect when used with ZOE. Besides, employing the total-etch technique before the application of resin restoration seems to eliminate the deleterious effect of ZOE on resins.


This review depended only on the studies that were published in English and we did not sort the study according to the quality standard like sample size. Furthermore, we did not use Cochrane central for the literature search due to some technical inconvenience.


All the authors would like to thank the institution library in helping out to carry out the required literature search.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Brauer GM. Zinc oxide-eugenol as dental material (1). Dtsch Zahnarztl Z 1976;31:824-34.
2Markowitz K, Moynihan M, Liu M, Kim S. Biologic properties of eugenol and zinc oxide-eugenol. A clinically oriented review. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1992;73:729-37.
3Syed M, Chopra R, Sachdev V. Allergic reactions to dental materials – A systematic review. J Clin Diagn Res 2015;9:E04-9.
4Cleaton-Jones P, Duggal M, Parak R, Williams S, Setzer S. Zinc oxide-eugenol and calcium hydroxide pulpectomies in baboon primary molars: Histological responses. Eur J Paediatr Dent 2004;5:131-5.
5Darvell BW. Materials Science for Dentistry. Hong Kong: Woodhead Publishing; 2018. p. 255-6.
6AlShwaimi E, Bogari D, Ajaj R, Al-Shahrani S, Almas K, Majeed A. In vitro antimicrobial effectiveness of root canal sealers against Enterococcus faecalis: A systematic review. J Endod 2016;42:1588-97.
7Daugela P, Oziunas R, Zekonis G. Antibacterial potential of contemporary dental luting cements. Stomatologija 2008;10:16-21.
8Brauer GM, McLaughlin R, Huget EF. Aluminum oxide as a reinforcing agent for zinc oxide-eugenol-o-ethoxybenzoic acid cements. J Dent Res 1968;47:622-8.
9Webb JG Jr., Bussell NE. A comparison of the inflammatory response produced by commercial eugenol and purified eugenol. J Dent Res 1981;60:1724-8.
10Lingard GL, Davies EH, Von Fraunhofer JA. The interaction between lining materials and composite resin restorative materials. J Oral Rehabil 1981;8:121-9.
11He LH, Purton DG, Swain MV. A suitable base material for composite resin restorations: Zinc oxide eugenol. J Dent 2010;38:290-5.
12Carvalho CN, de Oliveira Bauer JR, Loguercio AD, Reis A. Effect of ZOE temporary restoration on resin-dentin bond strength using different adhesive strategies. J Esthet Restor Dent 2007;19:144-52.
13Downs SH, Black N. The feasibility of creating a checklist for the assessment of the methodological quality both of randomised and non-randomised studies of health care interventions. J Epidemiol Community Health 1998;52:377-84.
14Farid GN. Evaluation the effect of eugenol containing temporary fillings on shear bond strength of composite restoration. Mustansiria Dent J 2012;9:159-63.
15Cho JY, Jin MU, Kim YK, Kim SK. The influence of AH-26 and zinc oxide-eugenol root canal sealer on the shear bond strength of composite resin to dentin. J Korean Acad Conserv Dent 2006;31:147-52.
16Pires CW, Lenzi TL, Soares FZM, Rocha RO. Zinc oxide eugenol paste jeopardises the adhesive bonding to primary dentine. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent 2018;19:163-9.
17Parnian Z, Ching T, Joycelyn H, Paul A. Effect of zinc oxide-eugenol temporary restorations on bond strength of composite resin. JDMT 2020;9:15-20.
18Peutzfeldt A, Asmussen E. Influence of eugenol-containing temporary cement on efficacy of dentin-bonding systems. Eur J Oral Sci 1999;107:65-9.
19Leirskar J, Nordbø H. The effect of zinc oxide-eugenol on the shear bond strength of a commonly used bonding system. Endod Dent Traumatol 2000;16:265-8.
20Fiori-Junior M, Matsumoto W, Silva RA, Porto-Neto ST, Silva JM. Effect of temporary cements on the shear bond strength of luting cements. J Appl Oral Sci 2010;18:30-6.
21Abo-Hamar SE, Federlin M, Hiller KA, Friedl KH, Schmalz G. Effect of temporary cements on the bond strength of ceramic luted to dentin. Dent Mater J 2005;21:794-803.
22Erdemir A, Eldeniz AU, Belli S. Effect of temporary filling materials on repair bond strengths of composite resins. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 2008;86:303-9.
23Yap AU, Shah KC, Loh ET, Sim SS, Tan CC. Influence of eugenol-containing temporary restorations on bond strength of composite to dentin. Oper Dent 2001;26:556-61.
24Nasreen F, Guptha AB, Srinivasan R, Chandrappa MM, Bhandary S, Junjanna P. An in vitro evaluation of effect of eugenol exposure time on the shear bond strength of two-step and one-step self-etching adhesives to dentin. J Conserv Dent 2014;17:280-4.
25Silva JP, Queiroz DM, Azevedo LH, Leal LC, Rodrigues JL, Lima AF, et al. Effect of eugenol exposure time and post-removal delay on the bond strength of a self-etching adhesive to dentin. Oper Dent 2011;36:66-71.
26Wazzen, KA, Herbi AA, Harmand IA. The effect of eugenol-containing temporary cements on bond strength of two resin composite core materials to dentin, J Prosthodont 1997;6:37-42.
27Chiluka L, Shastry YM, Gupta N, Reddy KM, Prashanth NB, Sravanthi K. An in vitro study to evaluate the effect of eugenol-free and eugenol-containing temporary cements on the bond strength of resin cement and considering time as a factor. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent 2017;7:202-7.
28Bayindir F, Akyil MS, Bayindir YZ. Effect of eugenol and non-eugenol containing temporary cement on permanent cement retention and microhardness of cured composite resin. Dent Mater J 2003;22:592-9.
29Schwartzer E, Collares FM, Ogliari FA, Leitune VC, Werner S SM. Influence of zinc oxide-eugenol temporary cement on bond strength of all-in-one adhesive system to bovine dentin. J Oral Sci 2007;6:1423-7.
30Pinto KT, Stanislawczuk R, Loguercio AD, Grande RH, Bauer J. Effect of exposure time of zinc oxide eugenol restoration on microtensile bond strength of adhesives to dentin. Rev Port Estomatol Med Dent Cir Maxilofac 2014;55:83-8.
31Carvalho EM, Carvalho CN, Loguercio AD, Lima DM, Bauer J. Effect of temporary cements on the microtensile bond strength of self-etching and self-adhesive resin cement. Acta Odontol Scand 2014;72:762-9.
32Bezerra CP, Campos CF, Leite J, Fernandes MS, Coury Saraceni CH, Rodrigues FP, et al. On the understanding of zinc-oxide eugenol cement use prior to etch-rinse bonding strategies. Indian J Dent Res 2019;30:424-7.
33Şermet Elbay Ü, Tosun G. Effect of endodontic sealers on bond strength of restorative systems to primary tooth pulp chamber. J Dent Sci 2017;12:112-20.
34Koch T, Peutzfeldt A, Malinovskii V, Flury S, Häner R, Lussi A. Temporary zinc oxide-eugenol cement: Eugenol quantity in dentin and bond strength of resin composite. Eur J Oral Sci 2013;121:363-9.
35Ngoh EC, Pashley DH, Loushine RJ, Weller RN, Kimbrough WF. Effects of eugenol on resin bond strengths to root canal dentin. J Endod 2001;27:411-4.
36Ribeiro JC, Coelho PG, Janal MN, Silva NR, Monteiro AJ, Fernandes CA. The influence of temporary cements on dental adhesive systems for luting cementation. J Dent 2011;39:255-62.
37Bargrizan M, Mirkarimi M, Rezamand M, Eskandarion S. Microleakage and micrographic evaluation of composite restorations with various bases over ZOE layer in pulpotomized primary molars. J Dent (Tehran) 2011;8:178-85.
38Bawazir OA. Micro leakage of composite resin restorations following contamination with primary teeth root canal filling materials: An in vitro study. Oral Health Dent Manag 2014;13:866-9.
39Mathew J, James R. The effect of eugenol containing and eugenol free temporary cements on the microleakage in resin bonded restorations – An in-vitro study. J Orofac Sci 2010;2:16-22.
40Itskovich R, Lewinstein I, Zilberman U. The influence of Zinc Oxide Eugenol (ZOE) and Glass Ionomer (GI) Base materials on the microhardness of various composite and GI restorative materials. Open Dent J 2014;8:13-9.
41Marshall SJ, Marshall GW Jr., Harcourt JK. The influence of various cavity bases on the micro-hardness of composites. Aust Dent J 1982;27:291-5.
42Poggio C, Beltrami R, Scribante A, Colombo M, Chiesa M. Shear bond strength of one-step self-etch adhesives: pH influence. Dent Res J (Isfahan) 2015;12:209-14.
43Lopes MB, Felizardo KR, Kaneshima RH, Guiraldo SB, Guiraldo RD, Jünior AG. Influence of eugenol-based materials and cleaning procedures previously to resin composite restoration on microleakage after 1-year storage. Appl Adhes Sci 2016;4:15.