Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Dentistry



First Advisor

Garry L. Myers

Second Advisor

Al M. Best

Third Advisor

Todd Kitten


The objective of this study was to evaluate the biofilm removal efficacy of three root canal treatment systems: ProUltra® PiezoFlow™, traditional needle irrigation, and the GentleWave® system in an ex-vivo benchtop study. Twenty-four extracted maxillary and mandibular molars were selected. Teeth were all instrumented to a master apical file size #25 with 4% taper. Teeth were then randomly divided into four experimental groups and two control groups. The root canals were inoculated with a culture of Enterococcus faecalis and incubated for five weeks to form a biofilm. Each group was then treated with one of the different root canal treatment systems using 6% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) as per the respective manufacturer’s recommendation followed by a rinse with water. Following treatment, teeth were decoronated and roots were sectioned longitudinally. Three scanning electron microscope images were taken at the apical level per root half at 5000x magnification. Images were scored by four calibrated examiners blind to group membership using a four-point scoring system (<5% coverage, 5-33%, 34-66%, and >66%). Results were analyzed using mixed model ANOVA. All the experimental groups were significantly better than the positive control group in removing biofilm. Among the experimental groups, the GentleWave® 15/04 group was significantly better than the other groups. There was no significant difference between the GentleWave® and the ProUltra® PiezoFlow™. Traditional needle irrigation scored the worst in reducing E. faecalis biofilm. The GentleWave™ system was as effective at intracanal biofilm removal as the ProUltra® PiezoFlow™ and better than traditional needle irrigation using 6% NaOCl as an irrigant.


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