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VOLUME 18 , ISSUE 9 ( September, 2017 ) > List of Articles


Evaluation of Apical Vapor Lock Formation and comparative Evaluation of its Elimination using Three different Techniques: An in vitro Study

Anand Agarwal, Zinnie Nanda, Rahul B Deore, Kavitarani Rudagi, Mirza Osman Baig, Md Adil Fareez

Citation Information : Agarwal A, Nanda Z, Deore RB, Rudagi K, Baig MO, Fareez MA. Evaluation of Apical Vapor Lock Formation and comparative Evaluation of its Elimination using Three different Techniques: An in vitro Study. J Contemp Dent Pract 2017; 18 (9):790-794.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-2128

Published Online: 01-12-2017

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2017; The Author(s).



The aim of this study was (i) to evaluate the formation of air bubbles in the apical region of root canal (apical vapor lock) during syringe irrigation, using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) and (ii) comparative evaluation of the elimination of an established vapor lock by EndoActivator, ultrasonics, and manual dynamic agitation (MDA), using CBCT.

Materials and methods

A total of 60 extracted human singlerooted teeth were equally divided into three groups of 20 teeth each. The samples were decoronated 17 mm from the apex, cleaned, and shaped to size F4 Protaper using 3% sodium hypochlorite. Samples were irrigated with 3% sodium hypochlorite + cesium chloride radiopaque dye, and preoperative CBCT images were obtained. After formation of apical vapor lock in the scanned teeth, EndoActivator (group I), passive ultrasonic irrigation (group II), and MDA with K-file (group III) were performed and the teeth were again placed in CBCT scanner and results analyzed using the chi-square test.


The apical vapor lock was formed in all the samples. Out of the 20 teeth in each group, the apical vapor lock was eliminated in 18 samples of EndoActivator group (90%), 16 samples of ultrasonic group (80%), while it was eliminated in 10 samples by MDA (50%).


It is concluded that (1) apical vapor lock is consistently formed during endodontic irrigation in closed canal systems and (2) sonic activation performs better than the ultrasonics and MDA in eliminating the apical vapor lock, with statistically significant difference between all the three groups (p < 0.05).

Clinical significance

The results suggest that the apical vapor lock (dead water zone) is consistently formed during endodontic irrigation which impedes irrigant penetration till the working length, thereby leading to inefficient debridement. Hence, to eliminate this vapor lock, techniques, such as sonics or ultrasonics should be used along with the irrigant after shaping and cleaning of the root canal.

How to cite this article

Agarwal A, Deore RB, Rudagi K, Nanda Z, Baig MO, Fareez MA. Evaluation of Apical Vapor Lock Formation and comparative Evaluation of its Elimination using Three different Techniques: An in vitro Study. J Contemp Dent Pract 2017;18(9):790-794.

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