Smear Layer Removal and Canal Cleanliness Using Different Irrigation Systems (EndoActivator, EndoVac, and Passive Ultrasonic Irrigation): Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopic Evaluation in an In Vitro Study

Published:September 09, 2013DOI:



      The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of different irrigating methods in removing the smear layer at 1, 3, 5, and 8 mm from the apex of endodontic canals.


      Sixty-five extracted single-rooted human mandibular premolars were decoronated to a standardized length of 16 mm. Specimens were shaped to ProTaper F4 (Dentsply Maillefer, Ballaigues, Switzerland) and irrigated with 5.25% NaOCl at 37°C. Teeth were divided into 5 groups (2 control groups [n = 10] and 3 test groups [n = 15]) according to the final irrigant activation/delivering technique (ie, sonic irrigation, passive ultrasonic irrigation [PUI], or apical negative pressure). Root canals were then split longitudinally and observed by field emission scanning electron microscopy. The presence of debris and a smear layer at 1, 3, 5, and 8 mm from the apex was evaluated. Scores were analyzed by Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests.


      The EndoActivator System (Dentsply Tulsa Dental Specialties, Tulsa, OK) was significantly more efficient than PUI and the control groups in removing the smear layer at 3, 5, and 8 mm from the apex. The EndoVac System (Discus Dental, Culver City, CA) removed statistically significantly more smear layer than all groups at 1, 3, 5, and 8 mm from the apex. At 5 and 8 mm from the apex, PUI and the EndoVac did not differ statistically significantly, but both performed statistically better than the control groups.


      In our study, none of the activation/delivery systems completely removed the smear layer from the endodontic dentine walls; nevertheless, the EndoActivator and EndoVac showed the best results at 3, 5, and 8 mm (EndoActivator) and 1, 3, 5, and 8 mm (EndoVac) from the apex.

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