Sterilisation and single-use of endodontic files - a short report

Keywords: Endodontic files, single-use, sterilisation, survey


INTRODUCTION: In many countries, endodontic files continue to be sterilised and reused in multiple clinical cases as the alternative of single-use of these instruments is avoided due to financial reasons. METHODS: A survey was performed including South African general dental practitioners and specialist prosthodontists to determine the current endodontic file sterilisation methods in place and the adoption rate of single-use protocols of both hand and engine-driven instruments. RESULTS: The majority of respondents (76.6%, n=141/184) indicated autoclaving endodontic files prior to reuse. Almost a quarter of the respondents (23.4%, (n=43/184) used only cold sterilisation. Some respondents (2,8%, n=5/181) indicated not sterilising their files at all. A low number of respondents had adopted the single-use of endodontic hand files (10.9%, n=20/184). Engine-driven files were used only once and discarded by 18.5% (n=34/184) of respondents. CONCLUSION: It appears that, at times, acceptable infection prevention and control practices regarding the sterilisation these instruments are not necessarily being adhered to. The adoption of single-use protocols of endodontic files in a South African dental setting is higher than previously reported.


Metrics Loading ...


Carrotte P. Endodontics: Part 5. Basic instruments and materials for root canal treatment. Br Dent J. 2004; 197(8): 45-64.

Walker JT, Dickinson J, Sutton JM, Raven NDH, Marsh PD. Cleanability of dental instruments - implications of residual protein and risks from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Br Dent J. 2007; 203(7): 395-401.

Letters S, Smith A, McHugh S, Bagg J. A study of visual and blood contamination on reprocessed endodontic files from general dental practice. Br Dent J. 2005; 199(8): 522-25.

Morrison A, Conrod S. Dental burs and endodontic files: are routine sterilization procedures effective? J Can Dent Assoc. 2009; 75(1): 39.

Messer H, Parashos P, Moule A. Should Endodontic Files Be Single-Use Only? A Position Paper From The Australian And New Zealand Academy of Endodontists. Aust Endod J. 2003; 29(3): 143-5.

Mehtar S, Shisana O, Mosala T, Dunbar R. Infection control practices in public dental care services: findings from one South African Province. J Hosp Infect. 2007; 66(1): 65-70.

Buchanan GD, Warren N, Gamieldien MY. Debris contamination of endodontic hand files in dental practice. S Afr Dent J. 2018; 73(6): 440-4.

Buchanan GD, Warren N. Single-use of endodontic hand files: perceptions and practise. J Infect Prev. 2019; 20(1): 32-6.

Snyman L, van der Berg-Cloete S, White J. The perceptions of South African dentists on strategic management to ensure a viable dental practice. S Afr Dent J. 2016; 71(1): 12-8.

Fernandes NA, Herbst D, Postma TC, Bunn BK. The prevalence of second canals in the mesiobuccal root of maxillary molars: A cone beam computed tomography study. Aust Endod J. 2018; 1 -5.

Head MW, Ritchie D, McLoughlin V, Ironside JW. Investigation of PrPres in dental tissues in variant CJD. Br Dent J. 2003; 195(6): 339-43.

Yared G. In vitro study of the torsional properties of new and used profile nickel titanium rotary files. J Endod 2004; 30(6): 410-2.

Hurtt CA, Rossman LE. The sterilization of endodontic hand files. J Endod. 1996; 22(6): 321-2.

Webber J. Shaping canals with confidence: WaveOne Gold single-file recipocating system. Roots. 2015; 1(3): 34-40.

Özalp N, Ökte Z, Özcelik B. The Rapid Sterilization of Gutta-Percha Cones with Sodium Hypochlorite and Glutaraldehyde. J Endod. 2006; 32(12): 1202-4.

How to Cite
Buchanan, G. D., Gamieldien, M. Y., Tredoux, S., & Warren, N. (2020). Sterilisation and single-use of endodontic files - a short report. South African Dental Journal, 75(4), 189-191.