Chemomechanical Reduction of the Bacterial Population in the Root Canal after Instrumentation and Irrigation with 1%, 2.5%, and 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite

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Given the importance of bacteria in the development of periradicular lesions, the eradication of the root canal infection is paramount in endodontic treatment. This study evaluated the in vitro intracanal bacterial reduction produced by instrumentation and irrigation with 1%, 2.5%, and 5.25% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) or saline solution. Root canals inoculated with Enterococcus faecalis were instrumented and irrigated with the solutions tested. Canals were sampled before and after preparation. After serial dilution, samples were plated onto Mitis salivarius agar, and the colony-forming units grown were counted. Inhibitory effects of the three NaOCl solutions on E. faecalis were also evaluated by means of the agar diffusion test. All test solutions significantly reduced the number of bacterial cells in the root canal (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference between the three NaOCl solutions tested (p > 0.05). Nonetheless, all NaOCl solutions were significantly more effective than saline solution in reducing the number of bacterial cells within the root canal (p < 0.05). The three NaOCl concentrations showed large zones of inhibition against E. faecalis. The results of this study suggest that regular exchange and the use of large amounts of irrigant should maintain the antibacterial effectiveness of the NaOCl solution, compensating for the effects of concentration.

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