Rotary Versus Reciprocation Root Canal Preparation: Initial Clinical Quality Assessment in a Novice Clinician Cohort

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Reports comparing clinical outcomes using nickel-titanium (NiTi) reciprocating instruments with other instrumentation modalities are scarce. This study examined initial shaping outcomes after an instrumentation change of root canal instrumentation technique in a doctor of dental surgery educational program. Student characteristics, faculty/student ratio, facility, and overall endodontic treatment guidelines remained unchanged.


A total of 200 nonsurgical initial molar root canal treatments completed by third-year dental students were evaluated. The cases were examined regarding the number of treatment appointments, access cavity preparation, canal taper, canal transportation, perforations, missed canals, presence of ledges, fractured instruments, obturation length, obturation quality, and sealer extrusion. Two independent evaluators determined the number of appointments per case; 4 independent and blinded evaluators analyzed radiographs at 4 treatment stages: preoperative situation, working length, cone fit, and obturation.


The following factors were significantly different between the 2 cohorts: the number of appointments, preparation length, taper, and occurrence of ledges. The WaveOne (Dentsply Sirona, York, PA) cohort had a significantly reduced treatment time compared with hand/GT rotary instrumentation (Dentsply Tulsa Dental, Tulsa, OK) (average of 3.3 vs 4.3 appointments). Appropriate length control and adequate taper were significantly more frequent in the WaveOne group. The frequency of ledges was significantly larger in the hybrid group. Other variables, such as access cavity preparation, canal transportation, perforations, missed canals, fractured instruments, obturation quality, and sealer extrusion, were statistically similar between the 2 groups.


NiTi reciprocation instrumentation was superior to hybrid hand/NiTi rotary instrumentation in reducing both patient appointments and the incidence of ledging and in improving obturation length and taper in a dental student clinic setting.

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