Canal cleanliness using different irrigation activation systems: a SEM evaluation

Year: 2017
Journal: Clinical Oral Investigations
Rubrics: Irrigation
Keywords: EDDY, irrigation, sonic activation, PUI, debris, smear layer


The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of different final irrigation activation methods in removing debris and smear layer in the apical, middle, and coronal portion of straight root canals.

Material and methods

Straight root canals of 58 freshly extracted mandibular premolars were used. Root canals were prepared to size 40.06. Irrigation was performed using 3% sodium hypochlorite. Samples were divided into four equal groups (n = 12) according to the irrigation activation techniques: (A) manual irrigation (MI), (B) EndoActivator (EA) (Dentsply Maillefer, Ballaigues, Switzerland), (C) sonic activation EDDY (EDDY; VDW, Munich, Germany), and (D) passive ultrasonic irrigation (PUI). Ten teeth served as negative controls. Roots were split longitudinally, and the canal walls were subjected to scanning electron microscopy. The presence of debris and smear layer at coronal, middle, and apical levels were evaluated using a 5-point scoring system and statistically analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis and chi-square tests.


Canal cleanliness decreased from coronal to apical (P = 0.035). Significantly more debris was removed with EA, EDDY, and PUI compared to MI (P < 0.001; total values), but no differences were observed in the different portions of the root canals (P > 0.05). Smear layer removal with PUI, EA, and EDDY was not significantly different (P > 0.05), but only EDDY and PUI were superior to MI (P < 0.01).


All activation methods created nearly debris-free canal walls and were superior compared to manual irrigation (P < 0.001). EDDY and PUI also showed significantly better smear layer scores compared to manual irrigation.

Clinical relevance

The sonic activation system EDDY performed equally as well as PUI, and both methods were significantly superior compared with manual irrigation in straight root canals with regard to debris and smear layer removal.