Chloroform in the Endodontic Operatory

By McDonald MN and Vire DE

Date: 12/1992
Journal: JOE


  •Purpose:  reviewing the historical and current role chloroform in dentistry, conducting an occupational health clinical investigation to assess the possible hazards of chloroform use in the operatory and to determine whether a rational justification exists for the careful and controlled use of chloroform.


•In the course of a standard 8-h workday, 2 patients received chloroform-assisted dental Tx. One patient required retreatment, removal of GP by chloroform. The second patient required conventional endodontic Tx by using chloroform dip GP and lateral condensation.

•An industrial hygiene air sampling survey was performed to determine whether chloroform levels exceeded the permissible exposure average of 2 ppm. Two air sampling devices were strategically placed in treatment operatory. Additional air sampling devices were attached to both dentist and assistant for employee breathing zone air samples

•An initial health screening evaluation was performed on both dentist and assistant. A CBC and SMA 7 were obtained within 5 h following the chloroform treatment appointments.

•A follow-up health screening evaluation was performed 1 yr after the  study.

• Most highlighted Results: 

1.The area air samples measured <0.57 ppm for a 5.5-h sample. The individual breathing air samples measured <0.88 ppm over 150 min, which equates to an 8-h time-weighted average of <0.275 ppm

2.All health screening tests before and after the clinical study were within normal limits.

3.Air samples were found to be well below the permissible exposure limit-time-weighted average for chloroform there- fore practically eliminating any health hazard.

Clinical significance:   

With careful and controlled use, chloroform can be a useful adjunct in the practice of dentistry.