Root Canal Irrigation: Chemical Agents and Plant Extracts Against Enterococcus faecalis

Letizia Borzini, Roberta Condò, Paolo De Dominicis, Adriano Casaglia*, Loredana Cerroni
Department of Clinical Science and Translational Medicine, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy

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© Borzini et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Clinical Science and Translational Medicine, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy; Tel: +39672596377; Fax: +39672596378; E-mail:



There are various microorganisms related to intra and extra-radicular infections and many of these are involved in persistent infections. Bacterial elimination from the root canal is achieved by means of the mechanical action of instruments and irrigation as well as the antibacterial effects of the irrigating solutions. Enterococcus faecalis can frequently be isolated from root canals in cases of failed root canal treatments. Antimicrobial agents have often been developed and optimized for their activity against endodontic bacteria. An ideal root canal irrigant should be biocompatible, because of its close contact with the periodontal tissues during endodontic treatment. Sodium hypoclorite (NaOCl) is one of the most widely recommended and used endodontic irrigants but it is highly toxic to periapical tissues.


To analyze the literature on the chemotherapeutic agent and plant extracts studied as root canal irrigants. In particularly, the study is focused on their effect on Enterococcus faecalis.


Literature search was performed electronically in PubMed (PubMed Central, MEDLINE) for articles published in English from 1982 to April 2015. The searched keywords were “endodontic irrigants” and “Enterococcus faecalis” and “essential oil” and “plant extracts”.


Many of the studied chemotherapeutic agents and plant extracts have shown promising results in vitro.


Some of the considered phytotherapic substances, could be a potential alternative to NaOCl for the biomechanical treatment of the endodontic space.

Keywords: Root canal irrigation, Phytotherapic substances, Enterococcus faecalis, Essential oil, Plant extracts.