Apical negative pressure irrigation versus syringe irrigation: a systematic review of cleaning and disinfection of the root canal system


The aim of this study was to systematically review and critically analyse the published data on the treatment outcome (primary outcome) and on the cleaning and disinfection of root canals (secondary outcomes) achieved by negative pressure irrigation as compared to syringe irrigation. An electronic search was conducted in EMBASE, LILACS, Pubmed, SciELO, Scopus, and Web of Knowledge using both free-text keywords and controlled vocabulary. Additional studies were sought through hand-searching of endodontic journals and of the relevant chapters of endodontic textbooks. No language restriction was imposed. The retrieved studies were screened by two reviewers according to predefined criteria. Included studies were critically appraised and the extracted data were arranged in tables. The electronic and hand search retrieved 489 titles. One clinical study and 14 in vitro studies were finally included in the review; none of these studies assessed treatment outcome, 4 studies assessed the antimicrobial effect, 7 studies evaluated the removal of pulp tissue remnants, and 4 studies investigated the removal of hard tissue debris or both hard tissue debris and pulp tissue remnants. Poor standardization and description of the protocols was evident. Inconclusive results were reported about the cleaning and disinfection accomplished by the two irrigation methods. Negative pressure irrigation was more effective under certain conditions when compared to suboptimal syringe irrigation, however, the variability of the protocols hindered quantitative synthesis. There is insufficient evidence to claim general superiority of any one of these methods. The level of the available evidence is low and the conclusions should be interpreted with caution.


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