The dentine-sealer interface: modulation of antimicrobial effects by irrigation

Vasilis Kapralos, Håkon Valen, Aristeidis Koutroulis, Josette Camilleri, Dag Ørstavik, Pia Titterud Sunde

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Aim: Assess whether sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) or chlorhexidine (CHX) and two irrigation protocols may alter the antibacterial properties of dentine and three endodontic sealers using a novel ex vivo tooth model.

Methodology: Prior to antibacterial testing, the tooth model was validated by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to evaluate the separation between dentine and sealer surfaces. Root blocks prepared from extracted human roots were pretreated with 17% EDTA + 0.9% saline and subsequently treated with 1% NaOCl (G1), 2% CHX (G2) or no irrigant (G3). Two irrigation protocols were further investigated, “1% NaOCl + 17% EDTA” (P1) and “1% NaOCl + 17% EDTA + 2% CHX” (P2). Following irrigation, the root blocks were either filled with AH Plus, BioRoot RCS and Pulp Canal Sealer (PCS), or left empty. All groups were incubated for 1, 7 and 28 days. Direct contact tests for planktonic E. faecalis and 48 hours E. faecalis biofilms were performed at the level of dentine and sealer surfaces. Statistical analysis was performed on the bacterial survival between irrigants (G1, G2 and G3) and between irrigation protocols (P1 and P2) (p<0.05).

Results: The model was considered reproducible as SEM examination of dentine samples indicated consistent separation between dentine and sealer surfaces. Irrigation with CHX (G2) and irrigation protocol (P2) enhanced the antibacterial properties of dentine without sealer application as well as dentine in contact with all three sealers tested, especially against planktonic E. faecalis. G2 and P2 also improved the antibacterial effect of AH Plus surfaces for all three incubation times. No irrigation groups (G1, G2) or irrigation protocols (P1, P2) altered the antibacterial properties of BioRoot RCS surfaces against planktonic bacteria or biofilms. Only BioRoot RCS surfaces eliminated the planktonic E. faecalis in all irrigation groups (G1, G2, G3) and protocols (P1, P2) investigated while PCS surfaces eliminated E. faecalis in biofilms in all groups up to 7 days.

Conclusions: The tooth model was reproducible. CHX improved the antibacterial activity upon both sealer and dentine surfaces. Among sealers, BioRoot RCS was less affected by NaOCl and CHX, and exhibited high antibacterial properties regardless the irrigation applied.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-560
JournalInternational Endodontic Journal
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2022


  • antibacterial activity
  • biofilm
  • endodontic sealer
  • planktonic bacteria
  • root canal irrigants
  • tooth model


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