Aim To evaluate smear layer removal by different irrigating solutions under ultrasonic agitation. Methodology Twenty recently extracted mandibular incisors with a single root canal were divided into four equal groups. Three groups were instrumented using the modified double-flared technique, the fourth remained unprepared. Each group was irrigated with either distilled water, 1.0% sodium hypochlorite alone or associated with 15% EDTAC between each file size. The final group was not instrumented but irrigated with 1.0% sodium hypochlorite and 15% EDTAC. A size 15 file energised by ultrasound was used with small amplitude filing movements against the canal walls in all groups. The teeth were split longitudinally and the roots measured to provide three sections of the same size (cervical, middle and apical). Samples were examined under the scanning electron microscope and assessed for the amount of smear layer by three independent and calibrated examiners. The scoring system ranged from 1 (no smear layer) to 4 (all areas covered by smear layer). Due to the non-parametric nature of the data, Friedman's test was used for statistical analysis. Results Canal walls were covered with smear layer in the group irrigated with 1% sodium hypochlorite alone and the group irrigated with distilled water. Canals irrigated with 1.0% sodium hypochlorite associated with 15% EDTAC had less smear layer throughout the canal (P <0.001). There were no statistical differences for the amount of smear layer found on the cervical, middle and apical thirds when each group was analysed separately. Conclusions Under ultrasonic agitation, sodium hypochlorite associated with EDTAC removed the smear layer from root canal walls, whereas irrigation with distilled water or 1.0% sodium hypochlorite alone did not remove smear layer.
- sodium hypochlorite
- smear layer