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Int Endod J. 2009 Apr;42(4):288-302. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2591.2008.01540.x. Epub 2009 Feb 7.

The properties and applications of chlorhexidine in endodontics.

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Department of Endodontics, School of Dentistry, Hamedan University of Medical Sciences, Hamedan, Iran.


Microorganisms and their by-products are considered to be the major cause of pulp and periradicular pathosis. Hence, a major objective in root canal treatment is to disinfect the entire root canal system, which requires that all contents of the root canal system be eliminated as possible sources of infection. This goal may be accomplished using mechanical instrumentation and chemical irrigation, in conjunction with medication of the root canal system between treatment sessions. To reduce or eliminate bacteria, various irrigation solutions have been advocated. Chlorhexidine is a cationic molecule, which can be used during treatment. It has a wide range of antimicrobial activity. Its cationic structure provides a unique property named substantivity. The purpose of this paper is to review the structure and mechanism of action of CHX, its antibacterial and antifungal activity, its effect on biofilm, its substantivity (residual antibacterial activity), its tissue solvent ability, its interaction with calcium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite, its anticollagenolytic activity, its effect on coronal and apical leakage of bacteria, its toxicity and allergenicity and the modulating effect of dentine and root canal components on its antimicrobial activity. A Medline search was performed from 1981 to the end of March 2008 and was limited to English-language papers. The keywords searched on Medline were 'chlorhexidine AND endodontics', 'chlorhexidine AND root canal therapy', 'chlorhexidine AND substantivity' and 'chlorhexidine AND toxicity'. The reference lists of each article were manually checked for additional articles of relevance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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