Current trends in endodontic irrigation amongst general dental practitioners and dental schools within the United Kingdom and Ireland: a cross-sectional survey

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Aims: To investigate current trends in endodontic irrigation amongst general dental practitioners (GDPs) and dental schools within UK and Ireland. Secondly, to evaluate if significant differences exist between the irrigant practices of National Health Service (NHS) and private GDPs.

Methodology: In 2019, an online questionnaire was distributed to the 18 dental schools within the UK and Ireland and 8,568 GDPs. These surveys explored current trends in teaching and usage of endodontic irrigants. Chi-squared tests were performed to make comparisons between NHS and private GDPs (α <0.01).

Results: All 18 dental schools (100%) and 495 GDPs (6%) returned valid questionnaires. Three hundred and thirty (66.7%) practitioners were NHS and 165 (33.3%) were private. There was strong consensus on irrigation teaching amongst dental schools. These results aligned with GDP responses in terms of irrigant selection (sodium hypochlorite [NaOCl]); NaOCl concentration (≤3%); ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) contact time (>0-5 minutes); final rinse protocols (penultimate EDTA rinse); irrigant temperature (room); and agitation techniques (manual dynamic activation; >0-60 seconds). There was, however, considerable variation in NaOCl contact time and GDPs infrequently used chelating agents or agitation techniques. Compared with private practitioners, NHS GDPs used significantly lower NaOCl contact times and concentrations, less EDTA and activation techniques, and more chlorhexidine (P <0.01).

Conclusions: Overall, irrigation teaching within the UK and Ireland is consistent and evidence-based. Furthermore, trends in irrigant usage amongst UK GDPs are now more aligned with these teaching practices. Significant differences were, however, observed between NHS and private practitioners.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2020