Introduction: The prevention and control of caries necessitates the elimination of cariogenic bacteria and cavity disinfectants have proved to play a major role in achieving the goal. The use of phytotherapy is trending and many natural products have shown anti-microbial properties which can be used as cavity disinfectant in the field of dentistry.
Aim: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of herbal antibacterial agents (Tea Tree Oil (TTO) and Aloe vera) with commercially available 2% chlorhexidine (CHX) as cavity disinfectant for use in minimally invasive dentistry.
Materials and methods: The study included three test groups, Group I (2% chlorhexidine), Group II (tea tree oil), Group III (Aloe vera gel) with a control group (distilled water). Ten patients with atleast one tooth with an occlusal or occluso-proximal lesion suitable for Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART) were selected for each group, dentinal samples were collected using sterile spoon excavators at three stages from each tooth viz., pre-excavation, post-excavation and post-disinfection of the cavities. These dentinal samples were subjected to microbiological analysis for Total Viable Count (TVC). The data collected were statistically analysed using ANOVA and Bonferroni post-hoc test.
Results: The results of present study showed that there was a statistically significant reduction in TVC when compared between pre and post excavation in all the groups (p<0.05) and post- excavation and post-disinfection in all the test groups (p<0.05) (except control group). Post-disinfection, 2% chlorhexidine showed highest reduction in TVC followed by 1% tea tree oil and aloe vera gel.
Conclusion: Natural antibacterial agents like tea tree oil and aloe vera could be effectively used as cavity disinfectants which will help in minimizing secondary caries and rendering a long term restorative success.
Keywords: Atraumatic restorative treatment; Dental caries; Phytotherapeutics; Phytotherapy.