To study the effect of the smear layer on the penetration of bacteria along different root canal filling materials and to examine the dentine/sealer and sealer/core material interfaces for the presence of bacteria.

A total of 110 human root segments were instrumented to size 80 under irrigation with 1% sodium hypochlorite. Half of the roots were irrigated with a 5-mL rinse of 17% EDTA. Roots with and without smear layer were filled with gutta-percha (GP) and AH Plus sealer (AH), GP and Apexit sealer (AP), or RealSeal cones and sealer (RS). Following storage in humid conditions at 37 degrees C for 7 days, the specimens were mounted into a bacterial leakage test model for 135 days. Survival analyses were performed to calculate the median time of leakage and log-rank test was used for pairwise comparisons of groups. The level of significance was set at P = 0.05. Selected specimens were longitudinally sectioned and inspected by scanning electron microscopy for the presence of bacteria at the interfaces.

In the presence of the smear layer, RS and AP leaked significantly more slowly than in its absence. In the absence of the smear layer, AH leaked significantly more slowly than RS. SEM results indicated a differential pattern of bacterial penetration among the sealers.

Removal of the smear layer did not impair bacterial penetration along root canal fillings. A comparison of the sealers revealed no difference except that AH performed better than RS in the absence of the smear layer.


Bacterial penetration along different root canal filling materials in the presence or absence of smear layer
Saleh IM, Ruyter IE, Haapasalo M, Ørstavik D
International Endodontic Journal 2008; 41: 32-40.