Smear Layer Influence on the Apical Seal of Four Different Obturation Techniques

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The purpose of this study was the in vitro evaluation of four techniques for the obturation of the root canal system in the presence or absence of a smear layer. Ninety-six human upper central incisors were instrumented using the pressureless crown-down technique and irrigated with 5.25% NaOCl. The teeth that had the smear layer removed were irrigated with this solution in combination with 17% EDTA. The teeth were obturated with lateral condensation with an accessory or standardized cone as the main cone, with vertical condensation of warm gutta-percha or with thermoplasticized injectable gutta-percha. Apical leakage was assessed by measuring the linear penetration of methylene blue dye with a stereomicroscope. The results showed no significant differences in the degree of leakage with and without the smear layer when the samples were considered as a whole. However, when the groups were assessed separately, teeth in the lateral condensation with an accessory main cone group and teeth in the thermoplasticized group leaked less with a smear layer present. In contrast teeth with lateral condensation and a standardized main cone leaked more with a smear layer present. In the vertical condensation groups there was no difference attributable to the smear layer.

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