Detection of Apical Root Cracks Using Spectral Domain and Swept-source Optical Coherence Tomography

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This study aimed to evaluate the ability of 2 optical coherence tomographic (OCT) systems to detect apical dentinal microcracks.


Twenty extracted human single-rooted mandibular incisors were selected. After root canal preparation with an R40 Reciproc file (VDW, Munich, Germany), the specimens presenting apical microcracks were identified using micro–computed tomographic (micro-CT) scanning as the gold standard. Then, the apical portions of the roots were imaged with spectral domain OCT (SD-OCT) and swept-source OCT systems, and the resulting images were blindly evaluated by 3 independent examiners to detect microcracks. The diagnostic performance of each OCT device was calculated, and statistical analysis was performed.


Based on the micro-CT images, 12 (60%) roots presented dentinal microcracks in the apical region. The images generated by the OCT systems were able to show microcrack lines at the same location as the corresponding micro-CT cross sections. Although the diagnostic performance of the SD-OCT device was superior, there were no statistically significant differences between the 2 OCT devices (P > .05). Interexaminer agreement was substantial to almost perfect for the SD-OCT system and moderate to almost perfect for the swept-source OCT system, whereas intraexaminer agreement was substantial to almost perfect for both OCT devices.


The detection ability verified for both OCT systems renders them promising tools for the diagnosis of apical microcracks.

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