International endodontic journal vol:38 issue:11 pages:775-788
Throughout the years, various methods have been adopted to investigate bacteria involved in root canal infection and apical periodontitis. This paper reviews the most commonly used microscopic techniques and discusses their possibilities, limitations and sample preparation. In particular, a recently developed variant of scanning electron microscope (SEM), referred to as environmental SEM (ESEM), is highlighted due to its potential impact across the diverse field of biomaterials research. The performance of this ESEM technique for bacterial observation of endodontic pathogens was illustrated by a practical approach. The paper concludes with a discussion on the possible use of ESEM for testing endodontic treatment modalities under environmental conditions in situ.