Historical Perspectives on the Use of Kalium and Natrium on Putrescent, Infected Dental Pulps

J Hist Dent. 2021 Spring;69(1):65-68.


In the late 1800s, subsequent to the identification of the role of oral bacteria in the demise of the dental pulp by Willoughby D. Miller, the dentist was faced with the major challenge of removing gangrenous pulp tissue from the small root canal spaces in the tooth. Under these clinical circumstances, investigators viewed the root canal contents as a test tube filled with gelatinous, decaying matter along with being overwhelmed by a wide range of bacterial species. One of the first attempts to eradicate the root canal contents was achieved through the use of kalium (potassium) and natrium (sodium) in their metallic state and with that approach the sparks did fly.

Keywords: bacteria; kalium (potassium); natrium (sodium); putrescent pulps; root canal disinfection.

MeSH terms

  • Dental Pulp Cavity
  • Dental Pulp Necrosis*
  • Dental Pulp*
  • Humans
  • Potassium
  • Root Canal Therapy


  • Potassium