Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Olsen, F. Kris

Second Advisor

Nencka, Daniel J.

Third Advisor

Hashimoto, Lance


Purpose: This randomized, single-blind pilot study was to determine the effect of dexamethasone on post-operative pain when used as an intracanal rinse prior to obturation.

Materials and Methods: Ten adult volunteers were enrolled. They presented to the Marquette University School of Dentistry for endodontic treatment and experienced pain from irreversible pulpitis. The patients were randomly assigned to either the control group that received standard of care treatment or the experimental group that received the rinse with 4 mg/mL dexamethasone solution prior to obturation. Before and after treatment, the patients recorded their pain level on the numeric rating scale (NRS). Recordings were made at baseline, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours post-operatively. Means and standard deviations were calculated. Treatment effects were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.

Results: Mean pain levels at baseline were 7.2 and 5.6 for the experimental and control groups, respectively. Patients who received the dexamethasone rinse had mean post-operative pain levels of 1.4, 0, 0, and 0 at 3, 6, 12 and 24 hours, respectively. The control group had mean post-operative pain levels of 4.2, 2.6, 2.8, and 1.2 at 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours, respectively. Pain level reductions over time were statistically significant (p=0.0014). The overall difference between treatment groups was also statistically significant (p=0.0198).

Conclusion: Endodontic treatment using the standard of care approach lead to substantial pain relieve within 24 hours. This was further enhanced if the treatment was followed by a rinse with dexamethasone.

Included in

Dentistry Commons