Extrusion of intracanal debris as well as irrigants is a common occurrence during root canal treatment, and no instrument or technique has thoroughly solved this problem. Because flare-ups may arise with any irritation directed towards periapical tissues, a shaping or irrigation technique should minimize the risk of apical extrusion, even though it may not be prevented. There has been a rapid evolution of root canal instruments and irrigation systems through the last decade, and many have been assessed for their debris extrusion potential. The purpose of this review was to identify publications regarding the evaluation of debris, bacteria and irrigant extrusion during root canal treatment. A PubMed, Ovid and MEDLINE search was conducted using the keywords “apical extrusion”, “debris extrusion” and “endodontic treatment”. The literature search extended over a period of more than 30 years up to 2012. Content of the review was limited to apical extrusion of debris and irrigants, extrusion of liquid by irrigation methods and bacterial extrusion. Issues relevant to apical extrusion were obtained by further search in the reference sections of the retrieved articles. The review provides an update on the current status of apical extrusion.