Posted January 1, 2023 by Anusha ‐ 2 min read

Irrigation is an important part of endodontic treatment because it removes dentin shavings from root canal treated canals. As a result, they do not become compacted near the root apex. Due to the lack of lubrication in the dry canals, endodontic instruments are unable to work properly.

Purpose of Endodontic Irrigation

Goal of endodontic treatment is to remove all vital and necrotic tissue, microorganisms and microbial byproducts from root canal system.

Properties Of Ideal Irrigant

  • Broad spectrum antimicrobial properties

  • Aid in debridement of root canal system

  • Ability to dissolve necrotic tissue or debris

  • Low toxicity level

  • Good lubricant

  • Ability to sterilize the canal

  • Dissolve the smear layer

  • Inactivate endotoxin

Factors Modifying The Irrigants Activity

  • Concentration of irrigant solution

  • Contact with the substrate

  • Presence of organic tissue

  • Quantity of irrigant

  • Temperature of irrigating solutions

Types of Irrigating Solutions

  • Sodium hypochlorite

  • chlorhexidine gluconate

  • EDTA

Sodium Hypochlorite

  • Strong base with PH more than 11

  • Broad antibactrial spectrum

  • Sporicidal

  • Viricidal

  • Greater tissue dissolving activity for necrotic than vital tissues

Chlorhexidine gluconate

  • Cationic bisbiguanide antiseptic

  • At low concentrations it is bacteriostatic

  • At high concentrations it is bactericidal to both gram ‘-’ and gram ‘+’ bacteria

  • It attacks multiple sites at cellular level, making resistance less likely.


  • Also known as ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid

  • Non corrosive to instruments

  • Not bactericidal nor bacteriostatic in nature

  • It emulsifies soft tissues and remove the smear layer with no deleterious effects

  • At concentrations of 15-17% it removes calcium from dentin leaving a softened matrix of dentin.

Sequence Of Irrigation

The process of endodontic irrigation in a normal root canal treatment takes place the following sequence

  • Use of Hypo -> Saline irrigation -> Hypo -> Hypoactivation -> Saline irrigation -> Evacuate -> EDTA/ Smearclear -> Saline irrigation -> Evacuate -> 2% Chlorhexidine -> Dry the canals with paper point -> Obturate the canals with Gutta percha points.
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