This in vitro study compares two 810-nm and 940-nm diode lasers on bacterial kill in root canals of extracted human teeth and shows the clinical relevance of different treatment modalities. Ninety root canals of single-rooted human teeth were prepared up to ISO 70, steam sterilized, and assigned to two test groups (810 nm, 940 nm) and one control group. Following an initiatory experiment in which access opening of root canals and surrounding cavity were excluded from irradiation in the main experiment, 60 teeth were inoculated with 2 μl of either Escherichia coli or Enterococcus faecalis suspension. Laser irradiation was performed, additionally including access opening of root canals and surrounding cavity in the laser treatment. Excluding access opening of root canals and surrounding cavity from the laser treatment, the diode laser achieved an average bacterial reduction of Escherichia coli of 76.06% (810 nm) and 68.15% (940 nm), while including access cavities showed an average bacterial reduction of Escherichia coli of 97.84% (810 nm) and 98.83% (940 nm) and an average bacterial reduction of Enterococcus faecalis of 98.8% (810 nm) and 98.66% (940 nm). Diode laser wavelengths are effective in endodontic therapy. It seems to be clinically relevant that additional irradiation of the access cavity produces significantly better bactericidal results.
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