Reduction in intracanal bacteria during root canal preparation with and without apical enlargement

L. G. Coldero, S. McHugh, D. MacKenzie, W. P. Saunders

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    78 Citations (Scopus)


    Aim To compare in vitro intracanal bacterial reduction using nickel–titanium rotary instruments with and without apical enlargement. Methodology Thirty-eight palatal roots of maxillary molar teeth, with mature apices were subdivided according to lengths and then randomly assigned to two experimental and one control groups. The roots were sterilized and then reinfected with Enterococcus faecalis, which served as a bacteriological marker. All roots in the experimental groups were prepared in a step-down sequence with engine-driven GT rotary files at 350 rpm. In experimental group A (n = 16) additional apical enlargement to ISO size 35 was performed. In group B (n = 16) a serial step-back technique was followed with no apical enlargement. This was combined in groups A and B with irrigation with NaOCl and EDTA. In the control group (group C, n= 6) irrigation only was carried out, with no mechanical preparation. Samples were then taken from the root canals to determine the numbers of remaining bacteria. Results In groups A and B, 15 (94%) and 13 (81%) specimens were rendered bacteria-free, respectively. In the control group C none of the specimens were bacteria-free. There was a significant difference (P < 0.001) in the antibacterial effects of experimental and control regimens. There was, however, no significant difference (P = 0.276) between the preparation methods used in the experimental groups. Conclusions There was no significant difference in intracanal bacterial reduction when Ni–Ti GT rotary preparation with NaOCl and EDTA irrigation was used with or without apical enlargement preparation technique. It may therefore not be necessary to remove dentine in the apical part of the root canal when a suitable coronal taper is achieved to allow satisfactory irrigation of the root canal system with antimicrobial agents.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)437-446
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Endodontic Journal
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Apical size
    • Bacteria
    • GT rotary
    • Nickel–titanium
    • Root canal preparation


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