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Effect of exposing dentine to sodium hypochlorite and calcium hydroxide on its flexural strength and elastic modulus


K. Gulabivala, Department of Conservative Dentistry, Eastman Dental Institute for Oral Health Care Sciences, University College London, 256 Grays Inn Road, London WC1 8LD, England, UK (fax: +020 7915 1028;




The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) solutions (3%, 5%) and saturated calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) solution, individually and consecutively, on the flexural strength and modulus of elasticity of standardized dentine bars.


Standardized plano-parallel dentine bars (n = 121) were divided into five test groups and one control group. The control group 1 consisted of dentine bars, stored in normal saline until testing. The dentine bars in the five test groups were treated by exposure to the following solutions; group 2 – 3% NaOCl, 2 h; group 3 – 5% NaOCl, 2 h; group 4 – saturated Ca(OH)2 solution, 1 week; group 5 – 3% NaOCl, 2 h and then saturated Ca(OH)2 solution 1 week; group 6 – 5% NaOCl, 2 h and then saturated Ca(OH)2 solution 1 week. The dentine bars were then loaded to failure in a three-point bend test.


The data revealed a significant (P < 0.001) decrease in the modulus of elasticity and flexural strength of the dentine bars treated with 3% and 5% NaOCl. There was no significant difference in the flexural strength and the modulus of elasticity between the 3% and 5% NaOCl groups. Exposure to Ca(OH)2 significantly (P < 0.001) reduced the flexural strength but had no significant effect on the modulus of elasticity. The groups treated with sodium hypochlorite followed by calcium hydroxide did not have moduli of elasticity and flexural strengths that were significantly different from those treated only with sodium hypochlorite.


NaOCl (3 & 5%) reduced the modulus of elasticity and flexural strength of dentine. Saturated Ca(OH)2 reduced the flexural strength of dentine but not the modulus of elasticity. Sequential use of NaOCl and Ca(OH)2 has no additional weakening effect.