Comparative Efficacy of Different Irrigant Activation Techniques for Irrigant Delivery Up to the Working Length of Mature Permanent Teeth: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Eur Endod J. 2023 Jan;8(1):1-19. doi: 10.14744/eej.2022.87587.


This systematic review aims to establish whether various irrigant activation techniques (IATs) result in greater penetration of irrigant up to the working length. The MEDLINE, Scopus and Cochrane Library electronic databases were searched to determine the difference in irrigant penetration depth in the main canal following the use of manual dynamic activation (MDA), sonic irrigation (SI), passive ultrasonic irrigation (PUI), and apical negative pressure irrigation technique (ANP) in comparison with conventional needle irrigation technique (CNI) in mature permanent teeth. Meta-analysis was performed for straight canals as well as curved canals in addition to subgroup analyses for a) Individual IATs in comparison with CNI, b) Comparison of PUI v ANP and SI v ANP in the straight canals, c) comparison of different IATs performed in straight and curved canals. The outcome was presented as effect size: standardized mean difference (SMD) and percentage difference (% diff) of irrigant penetration up to the working length (WL) alongside 95% confidence intervals using chi-square analysis. Of the 840 records screened, 20 studies were included in the systematic review and 17 studies were included in the meta-analysis. It revealed IATs had significant improvement in irrigant delivery up to the WL in straight (% diff: 51.94%, 95% CI: 39.20-64.67%) and curved canals (SMD: 1.08, 95% CI: 0.64-1.52) over CNI. The subgroup analysis revealed ANP was the most effective and significant technique followed by PUI, SI and MDA techniques in straight canals (% diff: 91.70%, 95% CI: 75.63-107.77%) and curved canals (SMD: 1.45, 95% CI: 0.77-2.13). IATs improve irrigant penetration when compared to CNI technique. In both straight and curved canals, ANP is the most effective in delivering the irrigant up to the WL followed by PUI, SI and MDA techniques. Hence adaptation of recent IATs in routine endodontic practice is recommended. (EEJ-2022-03-036).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Pulp Cavity*
  • Humans
  • Root Canal Irrigants / therapeutic use
  • Root Canal Preparation* / methods
  • Sodium Hypochlorite
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / methods


  • Root Canal Irrigants
  • Sodium Hypochlorite