Microorganisms are recognized as the etiological agent for the majority of pulpal and periradicular disease. Although bacteria have been the most studied, fungi have also been associated with infected root canals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the contents of infected root canals and aspirates of cellulitis/abscesses of endodontic origin for the presence of Candida albicans using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR primers specific for the 18S ribosomal RNA gene of C. albicans were used to survey 24 samples taken from infected root canals and 19 aspirates from periradicular infections of endodontic origins. The presence of C. albicans was detected in 5 of 24 (21%) samples taken from root canals, but none was detected in the periradicular aspirates. The results indicate that PCR is an extremely sensitive molecular method that may be used to identify C. albicans directly in samples from infections of endodontic origin.
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