A Scanning Electron Microscope Examination of Silver Cones Removed From Endodontically Treated Teeth

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Twenty-five silver cones were removed from teeth which had been treated endodontically from 3 months to 20 years previously. Examination by the scanning electron microscope revealed that these cones were moderately to severely corroded. The corrosion patterns were described as ranging from pitting to deep crater formation with globular or spherical agglomerations. Examinations with the electron probe showed sulfur peaks on the corroded portions of the cones. X-ray diffraction analyses indicated that the chemical compounds formed were silver sulfides, silver sulfates, silver carbonates, and silver amine sulfate amide hydrates. Tissue culture studies indicated that the corrosion products were highly cytotoxic. The mechanisms for the formation of the corrosion products have been postulated as being due to plastic deformations and metal transfer to the silver cones, plus contact of the silver with tissue fluids.

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