Antimicrobial Substantivity of Bovine Root Dentin Exposed to Different Chlorhexidine Delivery Vehicles

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Root canal dentin acquires antimicrobial substantivity after exposure to chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX) for 1 wk. Therefore development of a vehicle for delivery of CHX as an intracanal medication is desirable. This in vitro study assessed the efficacy of two CHX delivery vehicles, a controlled-release device and a gel, to affect antimicrobial substantivity of bovine root dentin. Sixty bovine incisor root specimens were prepared with standardized length (10 mm) and canal diameter (3.3 mm), and coated externally with nail polish. Specimens were divided into four equal groups and their canals medicated for 7 days with either: (i) an experimental controlled-release device containing 25% CHX that was immersed in sterile saline; (ii) 2% CHX gel; or (iii) Ca(OH)2 paste. Sterile saline was used as the positive control. After medication, the canals of the specimens were inoculated with Enterococcus faecalis for 21 days. Root canal dentin samples ranging in depth from 0.1 to 0.45 mm were then obtained using sterile round burs of ascending diameter. Each dentin sample was placed in a separate test tube containing Brain Heart Infusion broth and incubated for 24 h. The optical density (OD) of the broth was then measured spectrophotometrically at 540 nm. The positive control showed significantly higher mean OD values (one-way ANOVA and Tukey's Studentized Range Test; p < 0.001) than the three test groups. The CHX controlled-release device group showed significantly lower OD values than the Ca(OH)2 group; however only at dentin depths up to 0.2 mm. In contrast, the CHX gel group consistently showed significantly lower OD values than both the CHX controlled-release device and Ca(OH)2 groups. These results suggest that bovine root canals medicated with 2% CHX gel for 7 days acquire antimicrobial properties for at least 21 days.

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