Pulpal and periradicular diseases are primarily caused by bacterial invasion of the root canal system as a result of caries progression. The presence of residual bacteria at the time of root canal completion (obturation) is associated with significantly higher rate of treatment failure. Re-infection of obturated root canals can be potentially prevented by enhancing the antibacterial activities of root canal obturation materials. We evaluated, in an in vitro model, the antimicrobial efficacy of silver ions added to a common endodontic sealer. For that purpose we performed growth inhibition studies and bacterial viability tests. We measured the zone of inhibition, optical density and performed confocal laser scanning microscopy. Our results show that the silver ions enhance the antimicrobial activity of the root canal sealer against Streptococcus mutans. This study approach may hold promise for studying other biologically based therapies and therefore increasing the success rate of routine orthograde root canal treatment.
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Silver hydrogen zirconium phosphate (silver powder) was provided by Sterisil. W.S. acknowledges support by Delta Dental Grant WDS78956, J.K. from NIH/NIDCR Grant 1K99-DE018400-01. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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