Objective: The aim of this in vitro study was to evaluate the antimicrobial effect of oregano extract solution (OES) against Enterococcus faecalis within root canals and dentin tubules, and its effect on smear layer.
Materials and methods: A total of 180 human maxillary central incisors was selected. After removal of coronal part of the teeth, root canals were prepared using ProTaper rotary files (Dentsply, Tulsa Endodontics, OK, USA) to #F3 with the crown-down manner. The roots were randomly assigned to 15 groups (n = 12 for each). In the first seven groups, the antimicrobial effects of the test groups were evaluated. Suspensions of E. faecalis cultures were adjusted to 1.0 McFarland (1 × 10(8) colony-forming unit [CFU]/ml), and sterilized teeth were placed in Eppendorf tubes and kept at 37°C for 4 weeks. Samples were then taken from the root canals before irrigation using three sterile paper points. Dentin samples were taken from root canals with ProTaper #F4 and #F5 series rotary instruments after irrigation. The aliquots of samples were placed into the brain heart infusion and incubated at 37°C for 48 h and then the CFUs were counted. In the other eight groups, the efficacy of the irrigation solutions on removing the smear layer was evaluated using scanning electron microscope (Leo 440, Oxford Microscopy Ltd., Cambridge, England) analysis. Statistical evaluation of the microbiological data was performed using the Kruskall-Wallis and Mann-Witney U-test (P < 0.05).
Results: There was a statistically difference between the groups (P < 0.05). Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX), 5% and 2% OES wasn't found to be statistically significant regarding their antibacterial activities against E. faecalis (P > 0.05). 1% OES and NaOCl showed similar antimicrobial effect (P > 0.05), and 1% OES and NaOCl were better than ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and saline (P < 0.05) but not as successful as CHX. According to the results obtained from dentin, CHX is the most effective solution within dentinal tubules. Different concentrations of OES were not achieved smear layer removal alone but OES in conjunction with 17% EDTA was the final irrigating solution achieved the smear layer removal without dentin erosion.
Conclusions: Within the limitations of this study, OES appears to be a possible alternative to NaOCl as a root canal irrigant on the eradication of E. faecalis and removal of smear layer.
Keywords: Antimicrobial effect; Enterococcus faecalis; NaOCl; chlorhexidine gluconate; irrigation solution; oregano extract solution; smear layer.