The Self-adjusting File (SAF). Part 3: Removal of Debris and Smear Layer-A Scanning Electron Microscope Study

Zvi Metzger*, Ehud Teperovich, Raphaela Cohen, Raviv Zary, Frank Paqué, Michael Hülsmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the cleaning ability of the Self-Adjusting File (SAF) system in terms of removal of debris and smear layer. Methodology: Root canal preparations were performed in 20 root canals using an SAF operated with a continuous irrigation device. The glide path was initially established using a size 20 K-file followed by the SAF file that was operated in the root canal via a vibrating motion for a total of 4 minutes. Sodium hypochlorite (3%) and EDTA (17%) were used as continuous irrigants and were alternated every minute during this initial 4-minute period. This was followed by a 30-second rinse using EDTA applied through a nonactivated SAF and a final flush with sodium hypochlorite. The roots were split longitudinally and subjected to scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The presence of debris and a smear layer in the coronal, middle, and apical thirds of the canal were evaluated through the analysis of the SEM images using five-score evaluation systems based on reference photographs. Results: The SAF operation with continuous irrigation, using alternating irrigants, resulted in root canal walls that were free of debris in all thirds of the canal in all (100%) of the samples. In addition, smear layer-free surfaces were observed in 100% and 80% of the coronal and middle thirds of the canal, respectively. In the apical third of the canal, smear layer-free surfaces were found in 65% of the root canals. Conclusions: The operation of the SAF system with continuous irrigation coupled with alternating sodium hypochlorite and EDTA treatment resulted in a clean and mostly smear layer-free dentinal surface in all parts of the root canal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-702
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endodontics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Apical third of root canal
  • SAF
  • cleaning debris
  • irrigation
  • irrigation protocol
  • self-adjusting file
  • smear layer


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