Antimicrobial properties of human dentin impregnated with tetracycline HCI or chlorhexidine: An in vitro study

A. Stabholz, J. Kettering, R. Aprecio, G. Zimmerman, P. J. Baker, U. M E Wikesjo

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36 Scopus citations


Abstract Substantivity of tetracycline HCI and chlorhexidine digluconate to human root dentin was assessed in vitro. 51 extracted single‐rooted teeth, their crowns removed, were assigned to 1 of 4 treatments in groups of 12. A control groups included 3 roots. Each group was divided into 3 subgroups to allow evaluation of drug exposure for 1, 3 or 5 min. The roots were immersed in tetracycline HCI (10 or 50 mg/ml) or chlorhexidine digluconate (0.12 or 0.2%) solutions following root planing. Control roots were immersed in sterile saline (0.9%). Following drug immersion, the roots were transferred to tubes containing 2 ml tris buffered saline. The tubes were incubated at room temperature for 22 days. Desorption media were replaced at 24‐h intervals. Removed media were examined for antimicrobial activity using a microtiter assay in which bacterial growth was evaluated by optical density readings. Roots immersed in tetracycline HCl 50 mg/ml released antimicrobial activity to successive desorption media for 14 days. Tetracycline HCl 10 mg/ml activity lasted 4 days. Roots subjected to chlorhexidine digluconate released antimicrobial activity for 24 h only. Within each treatment, there were no differences between the 3 exposure intervals of 1, 3 or 5 min. Our findings suggest usage of the periodontally exposed instrumented root as a depot for sustained release of tetracycline HCI, but not chlorhexidine digluconate, to the subgingival environment. The substantiveness of tetracycline HCI seems related to drug concentration rather than the exposure interval. Clinical trials are needed to confirm the clinical significance of these in vitro observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-562
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1993


  • periodontal therapy
  • tetracycline HCl/chlorhexidine digluconate/therapeutic use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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