Spectrophotometric determination of irrigant extrusion using passive ultrasonic irrigation, endoactivator, or syringe irrigation

Carolina Rodríguez-Figueroa, Scott B. McClanahan, Walter R. Bowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Methods One hundred fourteen single-rooted extracted teeth were decoronated to leave 15 mm of the root length for each tooth. Cleaning and shaping of the teeth were completed using standardized hand and rotary instrumentation to an apical file size #40/0.04 taper. Roots were sealed (not apex), and 54 straight roots (n = 18/group) and 60 curved roots (>20° curvature, n = 20/group) were included. Teeth were irrigated with 5.25% NaOCl by 1 of 3 methods: passive irrigation with needle, PUI, or EA irrigation. Extrusion of NaOCl was evaluated using a pH indicator and a spectrophotometer. Standard curves were prepared with known amounts of irrigant to quantify amounts in unknown samples.

Introduction Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) irrigation is critical to endodontic success, and several new methods have been developed to improve irrigation efficacy (eg, passive ultrasonic irrigation [PUI] and EndoActivator [EA]). Using a novel spectrophotometric method, this study evaluated NaOCl irrigant extrusion during canal irrigation.

Results Irrigant extrusion was minimal with all methods, with most teeth showing no NaOCl extrusion in straight or curved roots. Minor NaOCl extrusion (1-3 μL) in straight roots or curved roots occurred in 10%-11% of teeth in all 3 irrigant methods. Two teeth in both the syringe irrigation and the EA group extruded 3-10 μL of NaOCl.

Conclusions The spectrophotometric method used in this study proved to be very sensitive while providing quantification of the irrigant levels extruded. Using the PUI or EA tip to within 1 mm of the working length appears to be fairly safe, but apical anatomy can vary in teeth to allow extrusion of irrigant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1622-1626
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Endodontics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Association of Endodontists.


  • Creosol purple
  • endodontic irrigation
  • sodium hypochlorite
  • spectrophotometer


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