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SADJ. 2010 Oct;65(9):416-9.

Root canal complications: 'the hypochlorite accident'.

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School of Dentistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.


Root canal treatment is performed routinely in dental practice, using sodium hypochlorite which serves as an effective irrigant. The literature reviewed shows that several complications following irrigation with sodium hypochlorite may occur, but few practitioners are aware of it and its management. Such complications include injury to skin, oral mucosa and eyes, damage to clothing, air emphysema, allergic reactions, and injection beyond the foramen. In this article, a case report of injection with sodium hypochlorite beyond the foramen is presented, together with a review of the recent literature regarding common manifestations and case histories. The literature shows no standard management of this condition, but symptomatic therapies are discussed. It is important to minimize the risk of sodium-hypochlorite-induced damage during root canal therapy by use of protective measures, appropriate instrumentation and techniques, and consider alternate irrigation solutions.

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