The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence and role of yeasts, enteric gram-negative rods and Enterococcus species in root-filled teeth with chronic apical periodontitis, and the antimicrobial effect of iodine potassium iodide (IKI) irrigation. Forty symptom-free root-filled teeth with chronic apical periodontitis were included in the study. The patients were divided into two groups. In group A the canals were filled with calcium hydroxide for 10-14 days after cleaning and shaping; in group B the canals were irrigated with IKI for 5 min after cleaning and shaping followed by a permanent root filling. Microbiological samples were taken from the canals before and after the chemomechanical preparation and after iodine irrigation (group B). Microbes were isolated from 33 of 40 teeth in the initial sampling. Yeasts were isolated from six teeth, three of them together with E. faecalis. Enteric rods (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis) were present in three teeth and E. faecalis was isolated from 21 of the 33 culture positive teeth, 11 in pure culture. Growth was detected in 10 teeth of the second samples. Six of the 10 cases were E. faecalis, with five being a pure culture. All third samples (after IKI) except one were negative. The number of microbial cells per sample did not correlate with lesion size. Two flare-ups were recorded, both in teeth with a mixed infection. The high prevalence of enteric bacteria and yeasts in root-filled teeth with chronic apical periodontitis was established. IKI improved the antimicrobial effect of the treatment.