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Article: Volume 48 Number 10 Page 836 - November 2021

  Dental Update 494: 836-844  Read article

Endodontics:  Disinfection of the root canal system: what should the protocol be?

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Abstract: The presence of micro-organisms within the root canal system is the critical aetiological factor in peri-radicular periodontitis. During root canal treatment (RCT) it is imperative that this infection and other organic debris are removed from the root canal system. This is challenging because complex tooth anatomy, the presence of a biofilm and the smear layer complicate the process. There are a number of irrigant chemicals and adjunctive systems available in contemporary endodontic practice that are used to disinfect the root canal system during root canal preparation. This article reviews the available evidence concerning these disinfection methods and concludes by presenting a clinical protocol supported by the literature.

Clinical relevance: A clinical protocol, supported by the literature, is presented for effective decontamination of the root canal system during root canal therapy.

Author notes: Stephen J Bonsor, BDS(Hons) MSc FHEA FDS RCPS(Glasg) MDTFEd, GDP, The Dental Practice, 21 Rubislaw Terrace, Aberdeen, UK; Senior Clinical Lecturer, Institute of Dentistry, University of Aberdeen, UK; Online Tutor/Clinical Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, UK. email:

Objective: To review the available evidence surrounding endodontic disinfection methods and present a clinical protocol supported by the literature.