Dr.Anoop.V.Nair, PG, Dept of Cons & Endo, KVGDC
Discovery & historical uses
Evolution in dentistry
Techniques to use
Immuno cross reactivity
The primary objectives of Operative Endodontics-
total debridement of the pulpal space
development of a fluid–tight seal at the apical foramen
total obturation of the root canal.
Earlier root canal filling materials-
Amalgam, Asbestos, Balsam, Bamboo, Cement, Copper, Gold Foil, Iron, Lead,
Oxy- Chloride of Zinc, Paraffin, Pastes, Plaster of Paris, Resin, Rubber,
Silverpoints,Tin foil etc.
Among all these materials tried, none of them met the requirements of an
ideal obturating material.
The search for a suitable Root canal filling material ended with the
discovery of “Gutta-percha”.
Gutta-percha is a name derived from two
“GETAH”- meaning gum
“PERTJA”- name of the tree in Malay
used in crude form by the natives of
Malaysian archipelago for making knife
handles, walking sticks and for various
Genus: Isonandra Species
The first person to discover this material was John Tradescant, who brought
this material after his travels from far-east in 1656, he named this material
as “Mazer wood”.
But the honour of introduction of this material goes to Dr. William
Montogmerie (1843), who was a medical officer in Indian service.
He first came across gutta percha in Singapore in 1822.
His interest in the latex was sparked off by the use of gutta percha by
workers to made handles for their machetes.
Montgomerie also observed that knife handles and medical devices could be
made from the substance.
He was the first to appreciate the potential of this material in medicine and
for which he was awarded the gold medal by the Royal society of arts,
London in 1843.
First Guttapercha patent was taken by Alexander, Cabriol and Duclos for a
laminate consisting of three layers called “Gutta-percha fabric”.
In 1845 Hancock and Bewley formed the Gutta-percha company in United
Jewels and ornaments made of it as they were considered to be precious
materials at that time.
Cyprus Field & Werner Siemens - underwater communication through
telegraph wires insulated with gutta percha
Insulating underwater cable wires- 1866,Trans-atlantic telegraph cable,
helped the whole world by revolutionizing communication.
It was nearly a 100 years later that gutta percha was replaced by
polyethylene as the material to insulate cable wires.
Liquor gutta percha fortior is used as a thin cover on linen materials to
prevent them from getting stained or soiled.
Pure or clear gutta is used in silk painting.
Its introduction simplified the manufacture of golf balls.
Earlier they were made of wood, leather and feathers and the procedure
was cumbersome. It was introduced as hand moulded one by James
Patterson in 1845.
This change was instrumental in seeing the game grow immensely. The era
of Gutta-percha golf balls lasted from 1845-1900, till the introduction of
natural rubber in its manufacture.
In medicine, they were used as splints for holding fractured joints and
manufacture of handles of forceps, catheters etc.
It was earlier used to control hemorrhage in extracted socket wounds.
They were also used for skin diseases by the dermatologists, particularly
against Small pox, Erysipelas, Psoriasis and Eczema.
Dried coagulated extract of plants of Palaquium, Blanco genus of
These trees are natural inhabitants of South East Asia, particularly Malaysian
and Indonesian archipelago
The concrete juices of Isonandra gutta, Palaquium gutta and Dichopsis gutta
are the main trees from where, we obtain Gutta-percha material.
These Gutta-percha yielding trees are medium to tall trees, in which a series
of cuts (concentric or v- shaped cuts) are made to obtain the juice.
The leaves of these trees also contribute to a minimal extent in Gutta-percha
In India the species of this genus is very scanty.
The species found are Palaquium obavatum, Palaquium polyanthum,
Palaquium ellipticum and palaquium gutta trees in Assam and Western
Palaquium gutta was recently introduced and planted in Botanical gardens,
Indigenous plantation of these trees can be done like rubber gardening and
there is an encouraging prospect.
Among the various trees, Palaquium oblongifolium is suited for plantations,
but yield low amount of Gutta.
Among them, the important one is Guttabalata or Surinam Gutta-percha,
obtained from Mimusops globsa (Bullet tree), South America.
It contains more resin proportions than true Gutta.
The other substitutes are from Butyrospermum park (Sheabutter tree of
West Africa), Dyera costulata (of Malaya and Borneo), Maytenus
phyllanthoides (Mexico), Calatropis giganlea (Madar tree of India) and
Manilkara species (inferior balata-SouthAmerica)
Gutta-percha was first introduced to dentistry as a temporary filling material by Edwin
1847 - Hill Developed “Hill’s-stopping” a restorative material, a mixture of bleached
Guttapercha and carbonate of lime and quartz.
1867 - Bowman was the first to use Guttapercha for root canal filling.
1883 - Perry used pointed gold wire wrapped with soft Gutta-percha, rolled and packed it
into the canal.
1887 - S.S White Company was the first to start the commercial manufacture of Gutta-
1893 - Rollins used Gutta-percha with pure oxide of mercury into root canal filling.
1914 - Callahan introduced softening and dissolution of Gutta-percha with the use of
rosins in obturation.
1959 – Ingle and Levine were the first persons to propose standardization of root canal
instruments and filling materials and at their behest, standardized Gutta-percha was
introduced to the profession in 1959 after 2nd International Conference of Endodontics at
1976 - A group evolved into the present day International standards organization (ISO) for
approval of specification of root canal instruments and filling materials.
ADA specification for obturating Gutta percha points is No.78.
Gutta-percha is aTrans- isomer of poly isoprene.
Its chemical structure is 1, 4, trans–poly isoprene.
Since its molecular structure is close to that of natural rubber, which is a cis-
isomer of poly isoprene, it has a number of similarities but a difference in
form makes its mechanical properties to behave more like crystalline
In crude form its composition is
FLUAVIL------- 4-6% and also contains
Tannin, salts and saccharine substance.
Chemically pure Gutta-percha exists in two distinctly different crystalline
forms (α and β), that can be interconvertible
Natural gutta percha from tree- α form
However the most commercial available product is in β form
During the process of manufacture, if the cooling is done rapidly, ‘β’ form
results. If it is cooled slowly, less than 0.5°c/hr, ‘α ’ form results.
Another unstable form (γ) exists, which is amorphous in nature.
α ---- runny, tacky and sticky (lower viscosity)
β ---- solid, compactible and elongatible (higher viscosity)
γ ----- similar to a (unstable)
Transitions between low and high melting polymorphs of Gutta-percha are
reversible, cyclic phenomena
α and β
ALPHA FORM BETA FORM
Brittle at room temperature Stable and flexible at room temperature
Becomes gluey, adhesive and highly
flowable when heated
( low viscosity)
Becomes less adhesive and flowable
( high viscosity)
Thermoplasticized gutta percha for warm
condensation obturation technique
are in alpha form
Gutta percha points used for cold
condensation obturation techniques
are in beta form
Gutta percha exhibits two crystalline transformations when heated from room temperature
to 1000 Centigrade.
These transformations can be summarized as follows:
•Beta to alpha: occurs between 42-49 ( this phase transformation is reversible)
•Alpha to amorphous: occurs between 53-59
Biocompatibility: highly biocompatible; does not react with body fluids,
inert irrespective of alkaline or acidic medium, does not initiate allergic host
Dimensional stability: expansion or shrinkage of material occurs only during
Ductility and malleability: depending on existing phase, material may be
ductile or malleable.
Melting point: approximate value is around 600C, starts softening
Ease of handling: gutta percha used for endodontic obturation purposes are
in both alpha and beta forms, both of which are easy to manipulate. When
required gutta percha can be easily removed from root canal.
Adaptation to root apex: apical seal is of prime importance in obturation,
which is achieved by using gutta percha, either in cones or warm,
Materials expand, when heated from β to α orΥ phases (1-3%).
When cooled down, shrinkage also takes place and it is greater than degree
of expansion and differs by as much as 2%.
Aging of Gutta-Percha cones results in brittleness.
The encylopedia brittanica states that oxidation of Gutta-percha cones
Aged brittle cones can be made reusable by a rejuvenation process of
heating – quenching treatment.
The cones are immersed in hot tap water (>55º C) for one or two seconds
and then immediately immersed in cold tap water (< 20º C) for several
The sap that oozes out is collected and put into a pot and boiled
with little water.
It is boiled and then kneaded under running water.
Chemical method of coagulation is by addition of alcohol and
creosote mixture (20:1), ammonia, limewater or caustic soda
The obtained pulp is mixed with water and heated to 75°c to release the
Gutta-percha threads and then cooled to 45°c.
The flocculated Guttapercha called “yellow Gutta” contains 60% poly
isoprene and 40% contaminants (resin, protein, dirt and water).
Yellow Gutta is mixed with cold industrial gasoline at below 0°c
This treatment not only flocculates the Gutta-percha but also dissolves
resins and denatures any residual proteins.
After removal of cold gasoline, de-resinated Gutta threads are dissolved in
warm water at 75°c and dirt particulate is allowed to precipitate.
Residual greenish yellow solution is bleached with activated clay, filtered to
remove any particulate and then steam distilled to remove the gasoline.
“Final ultra pure” Gutta-percha has gasoline scent, before it is modified with
fillers into its final commercial product formulation.
i. Solid core gutta percha points:
Available as standardized and non- standardized points ( beta
Standardized points: these are manufactured in coherence to
instrument taper and apical gauge. Increased zinc oxide content
adds to stiffness.
Non standardized points: these are manufactured in variable
taper, not necessarily in accordance with a particular instrument.
The tip of point is adjusted with an apical gauge to best fit and seal
the apex. Flexibility is enhanced due to low content of zinc oxide.
Both standardized and non standardized gutta percha points are
used with cold lateral condensation with warm vertical
ii.Thermoplasticized gutta percha:
Usually available in injectable form (alpha phase).
Thermoplaticized gutta percha systems provide special heaters which heats
the gutta percha till the temperature when it flows.
For obturation the apical seal is achieved with the plugging of master cone
and then the gutta percha is backfilled.
GUTTA PERCHA Standardized
Phase Beta Beta Alpha
Trade names Denstply, Sure
Sure endo, Omega Obtura II, Ultrafill,
technique to be
Warm gutta percha
and a 3
The objective of root canal filling procedures, should be the total three
dimensional filling of the root canals and all accessory canals.
Gutta percha cones may be used with a cementing material, or they may be
rendered plastic with various solvents and used without root canal cement.
Gutta percha may be dissolved in various solvents, such as chloroform, oil
of eucalyptus, or xylol.
When dissolved in chloroform, a paste of chloropercha is formed, the
thickness of which is determined by the amount of solvent used and by the
amount which evaporates in the course of the filling procedure.
At the beginning of the filling visit, several pieces of gutta percha are cut
into a dappen dish and stirred with a small amount of chloroform.
The dappen dish should be covered with a glass slab to minimize
evaporation of the chloroform as the gutta percha dissolves into it while the
dentist is selecting his master gutta percha cone.
A small amount of chloropercha is streaked onto the walls of the dry root
canal with a fine root canal spreader or other suitable instrument.
The apical third of the master cone is dipped into the chloropercha paste,
and the entire master cone is gently repositioned into the canal.
The material in the canal is now forced laterally with root canal spreaders,
making room for additional gutta percha cones which are added repeatedly
in sufficient number to provide a dense root canal filling.
Each piece of gutta percha blends with the gutta percha and chloropercha
already in the canal to form a homogeneous mass which conforms quite
adequately to the configuration of the root canal system.
The lateral pressure on the plastic gutta percha– chloropercha mixture
automatically imparts a small vertical component of pressure, owing to the
shape of most prepared canals.
The entire mass moves apically during lateral condensation with any solvent
Callahan–Johnson diffusion technique-
the root canal system is flooded with 95 percent ethyl alcohol and then dried
with paper points.
The alcohol flooding and drying removes some organic and most aqueous
material from the walls of the canals.
The canals are flooded again, now with a chlororosin solution.
The chlororosin solution spreads extensively into inaccessible eccentricities in
the root canal and into accessory canals as well.
This solution acts as a solvent both for a previously prepared master cone and
for fatty organic material, so that when the master cone and additional cones
are added in the condensation procedures, dissolved gutta percha will diffuse
effectively into otherwise inaccessible portions of the root canal system.
Nygaard–Ostby technique is a variation of the Callahan–Johnson method,
where finely ground specially prepared gutta percha particles are spatulated
with chloroform to produce the necessary paste which will be used in
conjunction with the master gutta percha cone.
This method is reported to reduce greatly both apical excess and the
shrinkage in the final filling.
The advantage of this method over the solvent techniques is that positive
dimensional stability of the root canal filling can be anticipated, and there is less
likelihood of carrying filling material beyond the root apex.
One disadvantage is that at no time is a homogeneous mass developed.
The final filling consists of a large number of separate gutta percha cones tightly
pressed together and joined by frictional grip and the cementing substance only.
It is the gradual setting of the root canal cement which gives the digital illusion of
homogeneity as the lateral condensation procedure continues
Only at the point where the coronal excess is removed with a hot instrument is
true homogeneity established.
lateral condensation produces the densest filling in the middle and coronal thirds
of the tooth, and the apical seal is little improved as additional cones are added.
It offers the distinct advantages of greater lemgth control and greater patient
comfort, and has been successfully employed by large numbers of dentists for
May not fill canal irregularities as well as warm vertical compaction or
Introduced by Schilder
The use of warm gutta percha with vertical condensation permits great
density to be created in the apical portion of the filling.
No other technique provides for the filling of accessory canals and
foramina with such frequency as warm gutta percha used in conjunction
with vertical condensation.
To employ the warm gutta percha technique, the root canal must be
shaped so that a continuously tapering funnel is created with its narrowest
diameter at the periodontal ligament and its widest diameter at the
coronal opening or access cavity.
However this funnel may curve, it must be progressively wider coronally.
This continuous taper permits the introduction into the canal of a graded
series of pluggers with which the gutta percha is wedged apically.
Disadvantage include slight risk of vertical root fracture because of
compaction forces, less length control and potential for extrusion of
material into periradicular tissues.
Employs an electric heat carrier, the System B unit, and stainless steel
pluggers ( tapered .04, .06, .08, .010, .12), with 0.5 mm diameter.
Recommended temperature setting for system B is 200 o C.
But studies have shown that external temperature never exceeded critical
10 o c rise with any tip config or temp setting.
After selecting master cone, plugger is inserted to fit within 5 to 7 mm of
the canal length, deeper placement may enhance flow of GP.
Unit is set to 200 o C, plugger inserted activated, compaction done by cold
plugger againstGP in the canal orifice.
Firm pressure is applied and heat is activated within the device.
Plugger moved rapidly to within 3 mm of binding point.
Heat inactivated while firm pressure maintained, on the plugger for 5 to 10
After GP cooled, a 1 sec application of heat separates plugger from GP and
Endotec II-(Medidenta) advantage of length control of lateral compaction
and incorporating a warm GP technique.
Produces a fusion of the GP into a solid homogenous mass
Endotwinn (Hu Friedy) ability to vibrate the electronically heated tip.
Studies have shown warm lateral compaction, using both heat and vibration,
warm vertical compaction produced better replication of defects than cold
EL Downpak (Hu Friedy) variation of Endotwinn, used with warm lateral and
warm vertical compaction.
Heating GP outside the tooth and injecting the material into the canal.
OBTURA II,OBTURA III,CALAMUS, ELEMENTS, HOTSHOT, ULTAFIL 3D
Thermafill, Profile GT obturators, GT series X Obturators, Protaper universal
Metal core and coating of GP, heated over open flame
Central core provided rigid mechanism to facilitate placement of GP
Disadvantage was that metallic core made placement of post challenging
and retreatment procedures were difficult.
GP often stripped from carrier leaving only the carrier as the obturating
material in the apical area of the canal.
Now Plastic core with alpha phaseGP and heating device to control
GUTA PERCHA and NATURAL RUBBER LATEX (NRL), are from different
trees of the same botanical family
Raw GP contains the rubber molecule trans-polyisoprene
NRL contains cis-polyisoprene intermingled with a variety of
Dental latex materials can cause immediate hypersensitivity (type I allergy)
in dental professionals and patients.
Type I reactions from NRL which include ocular, nasal, pulmonary,
gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and genitourinary symptoms products can
be localized and systemic
Gazelius et al. and Boxer et al. speculate that because gutta percha and
NRL are both rubber-like materials from the same family of trees, a
potential cross-reactivity between NRL and gutta percha allergens in latex-
allergy patients exists.
Two case reports were published alleging that gutta percha induced an
allergic response in NRL-sensitized patients
Costa et al. investigated the cross-reactivity between gutta percha, gutta
balata, and NRL using a competitive radioallergosorbent test (RAST)
These results demonstrated that the raw or manufactured gutta percha
points did not show detectible cross reactivity.
However, raw gutta balata extracts cross-reacted with NRL-specific IgE
Using the RAST inhibition and the immunoblot inhibition assays, Hamann
et al. demonstrated that there is no cross-reactivity between gutta percha
points and NRL, but raw gutta percha cross-reacted with serum from
patients with type 1 NRL allergy.
Kang PB et al. studied the postulated immuno cross-reactivity between
proteins derived from raw gutta percha (RGP), gutta percha point (GPP)
and natural rubber latex (NRL).
Antigenicity and cross-reactivity of proteins were determined by the FITkit
(FITBiotech, Finland) and ELISA inhibition assays.
Antigenicity of proteins derived from RGP or GPP was not demonstrated.
Except for NRL glove extracts, neither extracts from RGP or GPP were
reactive in ELISA inhibition assay.
Significance. There is no immunologic cross-reactivity in vitro between
proteins derived from RGP or GPP, and from NRL gloves.Thus, therapeutic
use of GPP is unlikely to initiate adverse immuno-reactivity in individuals
previously sensitized to NRL proteins.
The immuno cross-reactivity of gutta percha points
Peter B. Kang∗, Kristy Vogt, Stephen E. Gruninger, Milton Marshall, Chakwan Siew, Daniel M. Meyer
Dental materials 23 ( 2007 ) 380–384
GP can be contaminated by handling, aerosols and physical sources during
the storage process.
Why disinfection of GP?
To fill the root canal system were free from pathogenic microorganisms
Penetration of bacteria into the blood stream of systemically compromised
patients should be avoided because of the risk of infective endocarditis
Owing to the thermoplastic characteristic of gutta-percha cones, they can
not be sterilized by the conventional process in which moist or dry heat is
used because this may cause alteration to the gutta-percha structure.
Therefore, a rapid chairside chemical disinfection is needed.
Polyvinylpyrrolidone-iodine, ethyl alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen
peroxide, quaternary of ammonium, glutaraldehyde, and chlorhexidine
The time for these substances to kill microorganisms ranges from a few
seconds to substantial periods of time.
Why do we need a quick decontamination method?
It is difficult to know beforehand how many accessory cones will be used
during lateral condensation.
5.25% NaOCl is an effective agent for a rapid disinfection of gutta-percha
CHX was not effective in eliminating Bacillus subtilis spores on gutta-percha
cones after 72 h of contact with the disinfecting substance.
Disinfection of gutta-percha cones with chlorhexidine and sodium hypochlorite
Brenda Paula Figueiredo de Almeida Gomes et al.
Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2005;100:512-7
The rapid strides taking place in dental materials science has lead to the
introduction of newer materials and techniques with improved physical and
mechanical properties. This surge in newer alternatives has lead to the
phasing out of older obsolete materials. This brings to the question whether
Gutta-percha is indispensable?
Gutta-percha’s unique property of inertness, better sealing ability and the
ability to do re-treatment in case of failure, make it an indispensable
obturating material currently.
Gutta-percha has over the years have been modified in several ways to
accommodate the growing trends in endodontics and achieve its mission by
simplifying the techniques, achieving optimal seal with a better adaptation
to the dentinal walls and a less time consuming process.
In this continual process, newer products like self lengthed marked Gutta-
percha have been developed and are in line for clearance of patency.
In future, for Gutta-percha to remain indispensable certain property
modifications are required such as increased stability, better flow properties,
better intra-canal adaptation with reduced shrinkage and an inherent
antibacterial efficacy without dissolution.
COHEN’S PATHWAYS OFTHE PULP- 10TH edition
Schilder H. Filling root canals in three dimensions- JOE — Volume 32,
Number 4, April 2006
Disinfection of gutta-percha cones with chlorhexidine and sodium
hypochlorite.Gomes BPFA et al. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol
The immuno cross-reactivity of gutta percha points Kang BP. Dental
materials 23 ( 2007 ) 380–384
Gutta percha: An untold story. Prakash R, GopiKrishnaV, Kandaswamy D.
Comparison of 6 different gutta-percha techniques (part II):Thermafil, JS
Quick-Fill, Soft Core, Microseal, System B and lateral condensation. Nimet
Genc¸og˘lu.ORAL SURGERY ORAL MEDICINEORAL PATHOLOGY Volume
96, Number 1