Micro–computed Tomographic Analysis of Apical Microcracks before and after Root Canal Preparation by Hand, Rotary, and Reciprocating Instruments at Different Working Lengths

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This study aimed to compare apical microcrack formation after root canal shaping by hand, rotary, and reciprocating files at different working lengths using micro–computed tomographic analysis.


Sixty mandibular incisors were randomly divided into 6 experimental groups (n = 10) according to the systems and working lengths used for the root canal preparation: ProTaper Universal for Hand Use (Dentsply Maillefer, Ballaigues, Switzerland), HyFlex CM (Coltene-Whaledent, Allstetten, Switzerland), and Reciproc (VDW, Munich, Germany) files working at the apical foramen (AF) and 1 mm short of the AF (AF − 1 mm). The teeth were imaged with micro–computed tomographic scanning at an isotropic resolution of 14 μm before and after root canal preparation, and the cross-sectional images generated were assessed to detect microcracks in the apical portion of the roots.


Overall, 17 (28.3%) specimens presented microcracks before instrumentation. Apical microcracks were present in 1 (ProTaper Universal for Hand Use), 3 (Hyflex CM), and 2 (Reciproc) specimens when the instrumentation terminated at the AF. When instrumentation was terminated at AF − 1 mm, apical microcracks were detected in 3 (ProTaper Universal for Hand Use) and 4 (Hyflex CM and Reciproc) specimens. All these microcracks detected after root canal preparation were already present before instrumentation, and no new apical microcrack was visualized. For all groups, the number of slices presenting microcracks after root canal preparation was the same as before canal preparation.


Root canal shaping with ProTaper Universal for Hand Use, HyFlex CM, and Reciproc systems, regardless of the working length, did not produce apical microcracks.

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