Decreased sensitivity to occlusal load could lead to a greater risk of damage to endodontically treated teeth. Therefore, this study aims to test whether root canal treatment reduces the sensitivity of the treated teeth to occlusal load.Methods
This is a comparative cross-sectional study of 124 patients who received root canal treatment. Treated teeth were compared with vital teeth on the contralateral side. After interviews with participants, their maximal bite forces (MBFs) of their root canal–treated and contralateral untreated teeth were measured using a digital bite fork force transducer. Data were analyzed by comparing the mean MBF of root canal–treated and control teeth.Results
The mean MBF (± standard deviation) was 226.6 N (±168.7) for root canal–treated teeth and 207.93 N (±158.08) for control teeth. Root canal–treated teeth had a significantly higher difference in the mean MBF than the control group (P < .0001) using the paired sample t test. A univariate analysis test showed that differences in the MBF were affected by molar relationship, overbite, and the quality of root filling.Conclusions
The difference in the MBF was significantly higher in root canal–treated teeth, which is consistent with the function of dental pulp as a highly sensitive sensor. Therefore, the reduction in the sensitivity of teeth to an applied load after pulp removal may increase the risk of overloading. This may, in turn, increase the frequency of tooth damage after root canal treatment.