4-Year Pulp Survival in a Randomized Trial on Direct Pulp Capping

Nidambur Vasudev Ballal, Henry F. Duncan, Daniel B. Wiedemeier, Namith Rai, Prateek Jalan, Vinutha Bhat, Vijetha Shenoy Belle, Matthias Zehnder

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: This study aimed to assess pulp survival in a randomized trial on pulp lavage in adult nonpainful posterior teeth with carious pulp exposure. The treatment included complete caries excavation, direct pulp capping with mineral trioxide aggregate, and immediate restoration with composite resin. Methods: Fluid was collected from the pulp wound to assess matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and total protein values. Before pulp capping, cavities were randomly (block randomization, n = 48) washed with a physiological saline or a sodium hypochlorite solution (2.5% NaOCl). Treatment outcome was assessed clinically (cold test) and radiographically after at least 1 year and again after at least 3 years. Painful failures were differentiated from nonpainful failures. Pulp survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method including 95% confidence intervals (CIs) up to 1500 days. Results: From the 96 patients originally enrolled, 73 individuals could be followed continuously. The clinical observations indicated a beneficial and sustained effect of pulp lavage with 2.5% NaOCl over a control treatment with physiological saline solution on estimated pulp survival 1500 days postintervention, with 7% (95% CI, 1%–40%) in the saline group versus 55% (95% CI, 30%–100%) in the NaOCl group. High MMP-9/total protein values in pulpal fluid collected from the exposed site indicated early and painful treatment failures yet were not associated with failures that occurred more than 250 days after intervention. Conclusions: The low 4-year success rates reported here challenge the concept of direct pulp capping in the cases that were included. NaOCl lavage did not only increase the survival of affected pulps substantially but also particularly diminished painful failures (33% in the NaOCl group vs 62% in the saline group). The lack of the predictive value of MMP-9 assessments beyond early treatment failures points to inflammatory states of the pulp tissue under deep caries, which are not related to neutrophil infiltration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-9
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endodontics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Dentistry


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