Comparison of Smear Layer Removal Using the Nd:YAG Laser, Ultrasound, ProTaper Universal System, and CanalBrush Methods: An In Vitro Study

Publication stage: In Press Corrected Proof




The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of the Nd:YAG laser, ultrasound, the ProTaper Universal system (Dentsply Maillefer, Ballaigues, Switzerland), and the CanalBrush (Coltene Whaledent, Langenau, Germany) methods for the removal of the smear layer from the apical third of root canals.


Fifty distal root canals from extracted human mandibular first molars were instrumented up to ProTaper Universal F5 and divided randomly into 5 groups (n = 10) according to the following final irrigation agitation techniques: no agitation (control), ProTaper Universal file, ultrasound, CanalBrush, and Nd:YAG laser. Specimens were observed under a scanning electron microscope. The presence of the smear layer was evaluated using a 3-grade scoring system. The data were analyzed with Cohen kappa, Kruskal-Wallis, and Mann-Whitney U tests. A level of significance of .05 was adopted.


The ultrasound group performed significantly better than the rest of the groups; 56.6% of the specimens revealed no smear layer, 44.4% showed the presence of a moderate smear layer, and no heavy smear layers were observed. In the Nd:YAG laser group, 30% of the specimens presented with no smear layer, 70% showed the presence of a moderate smear layer, and no heavy smear layers were observed. In contrast, a heavy smear layer was observed on the surfaces of the root canals in the CanalBrush (23.4%), ProTaper Universal (13.4%), and control (86.6%) groups. Statistically significant differences were observed (P < .05).


None of the agitation methods completely removed the smear layer. However, the ultrasound method performed significantly better followed by the Nd:YAG laser, the CanalBrush, and the ProTaper Universal system. Agitation of the irrigant improved smear layer removal in the apical third of the canal.


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