The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of spirochetes in asymptomatic infected root canals and in endodontic abscesses/cellulitis. Aseptic clinical samples were collected using paper points from 54 infected root canals and from aspirates of 84 abscesses/cellulitis. Oligonucleotide primers were produced for PCR identification of Treponema vincentii, T. pectinovorum, T. medium, T. amylovorum, T. denticola, T. maltophilum, and T. socranskii. PCR detected spirochetes in 51 of 84 (60.7%) samples from abscesses/cellulitis and in 20 of 54 (37.0%) samples from asymptomatic infected root canals. T. socranskii was the most frequently detected (44.9%), followed by T. maltophilum (29.7%), T. denticola (28.9%), T. pectinovorum (13.7%), and T. vincentii (5.1 %). The number of treponema species detected ranged from 1 to 5 species per sample. The mean numbers of species detected were 2.3 in abscesses/cellulitis and 2.6 in infected root canals. Significant association among species was found between T. maltophilum and T. socranskii, as well as between T. maltophilum and T. denticola by determining the odds ratio (>2.0).
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