Faculty and Research

Disinfection Efficacy of Irrigation Solutions

Dr. Ove Peters

In root canal procedures, canal disinfection is the major determining factor for endodontic success, since persistent infection has been identified as the most frequent cause of failing root canal treatments. It is well established that mechanical preparation does not completely remove microorganisms; therefore the search for improved disinfection systems is ongoing.

It is customary to use sodium hypochlorite (bleach) as an irrigation solution and also to dispense it deep into prepared root canals with very fine irrigation needles. However, the solution may still not penetrate deep into the root canal system or diffuse across dentin.

A current approach to enhancing irrigation efficacy is to use ultrasonic or sonic activation of irrigation solutions. A project in our laboratory investigates the effect irrigation on root infected with E. faecalis in vitro. After disinfection, cultures are taken from canal content and canal walls; results from culturing are compared to other evaluation methods such as fluorescence microscopy and routine histology with staining for bacteria.

Selected reference

Mayer B, Peters OA, Barbakow F, Effects of ultrasonically activated irrigation on smear layer and debris inside root canals. International Endodontic Journal, 2002, 35: 582-587.

Dr. Ove Peters, opeters@pacific.edu, 415.351.7117