The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial efficacies of 2% chlorhexidine (CHX), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and assess their synergistic or antagonist action as intracanal medicament.
Agar diffusion test was performed with 2% CHX, NAC, and their combination against E. faecalis planktonic cells. The diameters of the zones of bacterial inhibition were measured and recorded for each solution. The assay was further extended to 2 weeks old E. faecalis dentinal biofilm. Sixteen freshly extracted teeth were vertically sectioned into two halves resulting in a total of 32 samples. The samples were inoculated with bacterial suspension and incubated at 37°C for 2 weeks for biofilm formation. The samples were then divided into four experimental groups with 8 samples in each group. The samples were gently washed in saline and placed in culture wells containing the test solutions, i.e., 2% CHX, NAC, a combination of 2% CHX and NAC in 1:1 ratio, and a control group containing saline. The biofilm formed on the root canal surface were removed with a sterile scalpel and inoculated on blood agar plates to check for the formation of E. faecalis colonies.
For agar diffusion test, data were analyzed statistically using one-way analysis of variance and then by post-hoc Scheffe's test to compare the antimicrobial efficacy between the groups. Statistical analysis was not done for the cultures obtained from the biofilm as there was no growth in all the three test groups except the control group, i.e., saline.
In agar diffusion test, among the three groups tested, 2% CHX and NAC showed almost equal zones of inhibition whereas maximum inhibition was shown by a combination of NAC and 2% CHX suggesting a synergistic action. The results obtained were highly significant ( P < 0.001) for the combination of medicament when compared to individual test group. In culture analysis, which was done for the biofilm, no growth was observed in all the three test groups. The results obtained were biologically significant but statistically insignificant.