An in vitro study of the antimicrobial activity of some endodontic medicaments and their bases using an agar well diffusion assay


Professor Paul V. Abbott
School of Dentistry
The University of Western Australia
17 Monash Avenue
Nedlands WA 6009


Background:  The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro antimicrobial activities of various endodontic medicaments and their bases against selected organisms using an agar diffusion assay.

Methods:  An agar well diffusion assay was used to test the antimicrobial action of some commonly used endodontic medicaments (Ledermix paste, Pulpdent paste, Ultracal paste, and a 50:50 mix of Ledermix and Pulpdent pastes) and their bases. Three bacterial species (E. faecalis, P. micros, P. intermedia) and one yeast (C. albicans) were selected. The diameters of growth inhibition zones and pH were assessed.

Results: P. micros demonstrated the highest level of in vitro resistance. Pulpdent and Ultracal pastes had the highest pH (12.64 and 12.53, respectively). The addition of Pulpdent to Ledermix did not increase the zone sizes significantly.

Conclusions:  All the commercial products showed some in vitro antimicrobial activity. Ledermix paste and the 50:50 Ledermix/Pulpdent mixture being the most effective in this model. The known anti-inflammatory/analgesic properties of Ledermix and the results from this agar model suggest that the 50:50 Ledermix/Pulpdent combination would be the preferred medicament for clinical use in symptomatic cases, even though the addition of calcium hydroxide to Ledermix did not appear to be synergistic in terms of enhancing the antimicrobial action.