Enterococcus faecalisHydrolyzes Dental Resin Composites and Adhesives

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After root canal treatment, the dentin-sealer interface undergoes degradation, allowing for interfacial microbial biofilm proliferation and treatment failure. Saliva and cariogenic bacteria showed esterase-like activities (ie, cholesterol esterase [CE]-like and/or pseudocholinesterase [PCE]-like) that degrade methacrylate-based resin materials and/or the restoration-tooth interface, increasing microbial interfacial proliferation. Enterococcus faecalis is a gram-positive bacterium that is commonly detected in persistent endodontic infections. The aim of this study was to measure E. faecalis esterase-like, CE-like, and PCE-like activities and to assess the ability of the bacterium to degrade methacrylate-based resin composite (RC) and total-etch (TE) and self-etch (SE) adhesives.


CE-like and PCE-like activities from E. faecalis were measured using nitrophenyl and butyrylthiocholine substrates, respectively. The ability of E. faecalis to degrade resin composite, total-etch and self-etch adhesives was examined by quantifying the release of a universal resin degradation by-product (ie, Bis[hydroxypropoxy]-phenyl propane [BisHPPP]) using high-performance liquid chromatography.


E. faecalis showed CE-like (1.23 ± 0.13 U/μg dry bacteria) but no PCE-like activity. After 30 days and/or 14 days of incubation, the amount of BisHPPP released was significantly higher in the presence of bacteria versus media for TE and RC but not SE (P < .05). The amount of BisHPPP released after 30 days of incubation with bacteria was highest for TE (23.69 ± 1.72 μg/cm2) followed by RC (3.43 ± 1.20 μg/cm2) and lowest for SE (0.86 ± 0.44 μg/cm2) (P < .05).


E. faecalis possesses esterase-like degradative activity toward dental methacrylate resin restoration materials, which could accelerate the degradation of the dentin-methacrylate resin interface, increasing bacterial biofilm proliferation and penetration into the root canal system.

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