A Scanning Electron Microscopic Evaluation of Root Canal Debridement Using Saline, Sodium Hypochlorite, and Citric Acid

By Baumgartner C, Brown C, Mader C, Peters D, Shulman J

Date: 01/1984
Journal: JOE


To compare smear layer removal by saline (0.9% NaCl), 5.25% NaOCl, and 50% citric acid. N = 36 extracted human mandibular molars; 2 endodontists performed treatment.


D canal of Mn molars instrumented with K-files and irrigated following the above treatment groups. All groups irrigated with saline water after completion of experiments to terminate all solvent action. Teeth were fractures in half and evaluated with SEM.


Final recapitulation increased the amount of superficial debris in the middle and apical 1/3rd. Numbers say NaOCl better than citric acid in the apical 1/3 but the article says the opposite

Clinical Significance:

Combination or using a solvent to dissolve organic tissue & demineralize hard tissue works best.

Don’t recapitulate after final rinse.