Residual bacteria in root apices removed by a diagonal root-end resection: a histopathological evaluation

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To assess bacteria in the apical portion of the root end after 45° root-end resection in teeth with persistent periapical lesions.


The study included 27 apical root segments from patients with persistent periapical lesions. Histological sections of the coronal part of the amputated root segment were stained with Brown and Brenn to detect the presence of bacteria in the main root canal and/or in irregular root spaces and dentinal tubules. The quality of each root canal filling was evaluated using preoperative radiographs of filling, length of root filling as assessed from the distance between its apical end and the radiographic apex, diameter of apical preparation, and presence of apical perforations or deviations from the root canal. Two endodontists, blinded to the bacteriological results, independently evaluated the radiographs.


Bacteria were present in 23 (85.2%) specimens: five in only the main canal (21.7%), 10 in only the dentinal tubules and irregular spaces (43.5%), and eight in both irregular spaces and dentinal tubules and in the main root canal (34.8%). No correlation was found between the technical quality of the root filling assessed radiographically and bacterial presence in the central canal or irregular areas.


Infected irregular areas were found in the root tips of teeth with persistent periapical lesions. This was found regardless of the radiographic quality of the root filling. Diagonal, 45° root-end resection may expose such contaminated irregularities to the periapical tissue.

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