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J Endod. 2002 Oct;28(10):689-93.

Biofilm formation in medicated root canals.

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Graduate Endodontics Program, Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, Missouri 63103, USA.


The hypothesis that Enterococcus faecalis resists common intracanal medications by forming biofilms was tested. E. faecalis colonization of 46 extracted, medicated roots was observed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and scanning confocal laser microscopy. SEM detected colonization of root canals medicated with calcium hydroxide points and the positive control within 2 days. SEM detected biofilms in canals medicated with calcium hydroxide paste in an average of 77 days. Scanning confocal laser microscopy analysis of two calcium hydroxide paste medicated roots showed viable colonies forming in a root canal infected for 86 days, whereas in a canal infected for 160 days, a mushroom-shape typical of a biofilm was observed. Analysis by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed no differences between the protein profiles of bacteria in free-floating (planktonic) and inoculum cultures. Analysis of biofilm bacteria was inconclusive. These observations support potential E. faecalis biofilm formation in vivo in medicated root canals.

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