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The use of calcium hydroxide (CH) as an intracanal medicament for apexification is widespread. However, because of a short residence time in the root canal, the CH must be refreshed frequently, increasing the number of appointments required and leading to patient non-compliance. We hypothesized that a core-/shell-structured CH microsphere system would lead to sustained slow release of calcium and hydroxide ions of CH for long periods of time, eliminating the need for multiple visits for apexification. In this study, calcium hydroxide microspheres (CHMSs) with a core/shell structure were prepared by an emulsion method. The CHMS shell was composed of alginate, which was crosslinked by the Ca(2+) released from the CH in the CHMSs. Therefore, this system provides a unique feedback loop that controls the release of ions from the CHMSs. The in vitro experiments from the root canals of extracted human teeth showed that the CHMSs had a sustained, slow release of Ca(2+), at a constant rate of approximately 2 to 3% per month from day one to the six-month endpoint of the experiment. After 6 months, 72.1 ± 5.8% of the total CH from the CHMSs remained in the root canals of the teeth, while only 46.9 ± 10.9% and 36.8 ± 7.5% remained from a commercial product (UltraCal(®)XS) and CH powder alone, respectively (p < 0.01). The pH of all of the formulations (CHMS, UltraCal(®) XS, and CH powder) in the extracted teeth never rose above 9 during the release period, indicating a buffering effect of the teeth. The core-/shell-structured CHMSs are, therefore, a promising delivery vehicle for the sustained slow release of Ca(2+) and OH(-) in the root canal.


T A Strom, A Arora, B Osborn, N Karim, T Komabayashi, X Liu. Endodontic release system for apexification with calcium hydroxide microspheres. Journal of dental research. 2012 Nov;91(11):1055-9

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PMID: 22914537

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