A Novel Method for Characterizing Beam Hardening Artifacts in Cone-beam Computed Tomographic Images

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The beam hardening (BH) artifact produced by root filling materials in cone-beam computed tomographic (CBCT) images is influenced by their radiologic K absorption edge values. The purpose of this study was to describe a novel technique to characterize BH artifacts in CBCT images produced by 3 root canal filling materials and to evaluate the effects of a zirconium (Zr)-based root filling material with a lower K edge (17.99 keV) on the production of BH artifacts.


The palatal root canals of 3 phantom model teeth were prepared and root filled with gutta-percha (GP), a Zr root filling material, and calcium hydroxide paste. Each phantom tooth was individually imaged using the CS 9000 CBCT unit (Carestream, Atlanta, GA). The “light” and “dark” components of the BH artifacts were quantified separately using ImageJ software (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD) in 3 regions of the root. Mixed-design analysis of variance was used to evaluate differences in the artifact area for the light and dark elements of the BH artifacts.


A statistically significant difference in the area of the dark portion of the BH artifact was found between all fill materials and in all regions of the phantom tooth root (P < .05). GP generated a significantly greater dark but not light artifact area compared with Zr (P < .05). Moreover, statistically significant differences between the areas of both the light and dark artifacts were observed within all regions of the tooth root, with the greatest artifact being generated in the coronal third of the root (P < .001).


Root canal filling materials with lower K edge material properties reduce BH artifacts along the entire length of the root canal and reduce the contribution of the dark artifact.

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