The purpose of this study was to quantitate the sequential effects of endodontic procedures on the permeability of human root dentin in vitro. Forty single-rooted teeth were used. Both the crown and the apical 2 mm of the root were removed. The hydraulic conductance of the root before and after various endodontic procedures was measured using a fluid filtration method. Measurements were also made of dentin thickness, intracanal diameter changes, and changes in intracanal surface area. The results showed that instrumentation by K files alone or in combination with Gates Glidden drills did not alter radicular dentin permeability when the cementum remained intact. After removing the cementum, the creation of a smear layer and smear plugs on the canal surface tended to offset the expected increase in dentin permeability created by increasing the intracanal surface area and decreasing root dentin thickness. EDTA treatment inside the instrumented canal to remove the smear layer did not increase permeability significantly. The use of K files followed by Gates Glidden drills tended to remove more cervical dentin, increased the intracanal surface area, and increased the hydraulic conductance of root dentin more than the use of K files alone.
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