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The aim of a root canal treatment is the immediate, bacteria-proof sealing of the root canal system. In some cases, however, a medical dressing is necessary. This may be useful due to time constraints (eg emergency treatment), and also in highly acute or purulent cases.

Only those medicines should be used, which have a distinct and long-lasting activity against various bacterial species in infected root canals. These medications shouldn't have any side effects on the tissue outside of the root canal, nor on the whole organism.

The effectiveness of various products but also the reasonableness of the medical dressing is, however, judged very differently. But for highly purulent bacterial infections a medical dressing may have a positive effect during a period of days to weeks.
As long as there are no studies in large numbers which clearly prove the contrary, one should not abandone medical dressings in infected root canal systems.


Efficacy of chlorhexidine- and calcium hydroxide-containing medicaments against Enterococcus faecalis in vitro
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Antimicrobial efficacy of chlorhexidine and two calcium hydroxide formulations against Enterococcus faecalis
Schäfer E, Bössmann K,
J Endod 31:53-6 ( 2005 )

The incidence of failure following single-visit endodontic therapy.
Pekruhn, R. B.
J Endodont 12, 68 ( 1986 )

Influence of infection at the time of root filling on the outcome of endodontic treatment of teeth with apical periodontitis
Sjogren U, Figdor D, Persson S, Sundqvist G
Int Endod J 30:297-306 ( 1997 )

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