Complex nature of bacterial cell membrane and structure of biofilm has challenged the efficacy of antimicrobial
photodynamic therapy (APDT) to achieve effective disinfection of infected root canals. In addition, tissue-inhibitors
present inside the root canals are known to affect APDT activity. This study was aimed to assess the effect of APDT on
bacterial biofilms and evaluate the effect of tissue-inhibitors on the APDT. Rose-bengal (RB) and methylene-blue (MB)
were tested on Enterococcus faecalis (gram-positive) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (gram-negative) biofilms. In vitro 7- day old biofilms were sensitized with RB and MB, and photodynamically activated with 20-60 J/cm2. Photosensitizers were pre-treated with different tissue-inhibitors (dentin, dentin-matrix, pulp tissue, bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), and bovine serum albumin (BSA)) and tested for antibacterial effect of APDT. Microbiological culture based analysis was used to analyze the cell viability, while Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy (LSCM) was used to examine the structure of biofilm. Photoactivation resulted in significant reduction of bacterial biofilms with RB and MB. The structure of biofilm under LSCM was found to be disrupted with reduced biofilm thickness. Complete biofilm elimination could not be achieved with both tested photosensitizers. APDT effect using MB and RB was inhibited in a decreasing order by dentin-matrix, BSA, pulp, dentin and LPS (P< 0.05). Both strains of bacterial biofilms resisted complete elimination after APDT and the tissue inhibitors existing within the root canal reduced the antibacterial activity at varying degrees. Further research is required to enhance the antibacterial efficacy of APDT in an endodontic environment.