Introduction: Electrically heated pluggers are the most commonly used instruments during warm obturation techniques. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of sterilization and operating temperature settings on the heat generation of pluggers of various taper sizes. Methods: Fifty pluggers were sterilized at 132°C for 25 minutes for a total of 150 cycles. One group (Autoclave200) consisted of 25 pluggers tested at an operating temperature setting of 200°C, whereas another group (Autoclave400) consisted of 25 pluggers tested at 400°C. The heat generation at their tip surface was measured with T-type thermocouples at 0, 50, 100, and 150 autoclave cycles. An unpaired t test was used to compare the time it took the pluggers to reach 60°C and the mean maximum temperature change. Results: After 50 autoclave cycles, all of the 0.04 taper pluggers in Autoclave200 failed to reach 60°C. After 100 autoclave cycles, one of the 0.10 taper pluggers in Autoclave200 did not reach 60°C, and after 150 autoclave cycles, one of the 0.04 taper pluggers failed to generate any heat. The mean increase in the time to reach 60°C ranged from 1071-4004 milliseconds and 510-2074 milliseconds for Autoclave200 and Autoclave400, respectively. The mean maximum temperature change decreased by 13-29°C and 24-116°C for Autoclave200 and Autoclave400, respectively. Conclusions: After multiple autoclave cycles and higher operating temperature use, the electrically heated pluggers transferred less heat to the tip surface, potentially making them less effective.
- Electrically heated plugger
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