Objective: To evaluate the effect of NaOCl irrigant activation using passive ultrasonic activation, F-files, XP-endo Finisher files and or needle irrigation alone on the reduction of intracanal bacteria from root canals in teeth undergoing root canal treatment. Methods: Eighty patients with asymptomatic apical periodontitis were randomly divided into four groups. Access cavities were prepared and pre-treatment samples were taken (S1). Canals were then prepared and post-instrumentation samples (S2) taken. NaOCl was then activated with the various irrigant activation systems and post-irrigation samples (S3) taken. The samples were processed and colony forming units (CFUs) of bacteria were determined. The reduction in CFUs among the experimental groups were analysed using the Kruskal Wallis test and pairwise comparisons with the Mann-Whitney test. The Friedman test was used to compare the differences in the reduction of CFUs within the groups. Results: Overall, for all groups there was a significant reduction in the CFUs from S1 to S2 (P < 0.05) and from S2 to S3 (P < 0.05). Both XP-endo Finisher and passive ultrasonic activation techniques were associated with the greatest reduction in CFUs with no significant difference between them (P = 0.24). However, both were associated with significantly lower CFUs when compared to F-file activation and needle irrigation (P < 0.05). F-file activation reduced the CFUs significantly more compared to needle irrigation (P = 0.04). Conclusions: XP-endo Finisher file activation and passive ultrasonic activation were equivalent in terms of reduction in CFUs. F-file activation did not reduce the CFUs to the same extent as the XP-endo Finisher file and ultrasonic activation but reduced the CFUs more than needle irrigation. Clinical Significance: The present study highlights the effect of new XP-endo Finisher file and passive ultrasonic activation in reducing the bacterial load from the root canal system which is important for the success of root canal treatment.
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