Effect of Using Electronic Apex Locators on Selected Endodontic Treatment Parameters

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of using electronic apex locators on the number of radiographs taken and the adequacy in length of the final obturation. Patients in an undergraduate student endodontics clinic participated in the study. The working length (WL) was estimated by the authors for all cases (36 teeth; 58 canals), using both a preoperative standardized radiograph and an electronic measurement. The students were then asked to place WL files to one of the estimates (electronic or radiographic; chosen by random assignment) and take a WL radiograph. Neither the students nor their instructors knew which method was chosen for the estimates. Once treatment was completed, the total number of working radiographs was counted. The number of cases with acceptable (0 to 2 mm short of the apex) or unacceptable obturation was also blindly registered. An electronic estimate of the WL improved length quality of the final obturation, compared with a radiographic estimate. The number of working radiographs taken was less in the electronic apex locator group in anterior and premolar teeth, but not in molars.

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