Secondary root canal treatment requires the complete removal of filling materials with different chemical-physical properties. A newly developed single-use NiTi instrument (Reciproc Blue, RB) may be more effective in root canal retreatment. The aim of the present study was to evaluate morphology and composition of remnants after retreatment with RB compared to traditional K-File technique, in canals obturated with Thermafil/AH Plus. Twenty-four single-rooted human teeth were shaped with NiTi obturated with AH-Plus/Thermafil and retreated using RB NiTi instruments or manual K-Files. Radiographs were taken to evaluate endodontic space and radiopacity of residual filling-material before/after procedures. After retreatment, samples were longitudinally split and observed by environmental scanning electron microscopy connected to energy dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy (ESEM-EDX) to analyze the debris/remnant position, microchemistry, and dentinal surface morphology. Time for retreatments was recorded and compared using one-way ANOVA (p
-value = 0.05). Radiopaque filling residuals were found in both groups. RB system resulted statistically faster than manual K-File in retreatment procedure (p
< 0.001). Root canal space radiographic appearance obtained after retreatment with RB was wider than K-File (p
< 0.05). ESEM-EDX revealed 4 different morphological dentin area. Area-1: debris-free with typical Ca, P, and N composition of dentin and detected in 70% of the surface. Area-2: presence of deproteinized smear layer free from N and debris in 15% of the surface. Area-3: a thick packed smear layer N-free and with fine debris consisting of trace elements from sealer in 10% of the surface. Area-4: packed with debris and trace elements. No difference was observed between both instruments regarding root canal space appearance and ESEM-EDX analysis. Both systems were able to remove filling material but created a dentine morphology composed of packed debris and filling materials embedded into the smear layer. Dentin surface composition resulted in collagen depleted by irrigation procedures. The reciprocating system required less time to complete retreatment.
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