Influence of Intracanal Materials in Vertical Root Fracture Pathway Detection with Cone-beam Computed Tomography

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Investigating the vertical root fracture (VRF) pathway under different clinical scenarios may help to diagnose this condition properly. We aimed to determine the capability and intrareliability of VRF pathway detection through cone-beam computed tomographic (CBCT) imaging as well as analyze the influence of different intracanal and crown materials.


VRFs were mechanically induced in 30 teeth, and 4 clinical situations were reproduced in vitro: no filling, gutta-percha, post, and metal crown. A Prexion (San Mateo, CA) 3-dimensional tomographic device was used to generate 104 CBCT scans. The VRF pathway was determined by using landmarks in the Avizo software (Version 8.1; FEI Visualization Sciences Group, Burlington, MA) by 1 observer repeated 3 times. Analysis of variance and post hoc tests were applied to compare groups.


Intrareliability demonstrated an excellent agreement (intraclass correlation coefficient mean = 0.93). Descriptive analysis showed that the fracture line measurement was smaller in the post and metal crown groups than in the no-filling and gutta-percha groups. The 1-way analysis of variance test found statistically significant differences among the groups measurements. The Bonferroni correction showed statistically significant differences related to the no-filling and gutta-percha groups versus the post and metal crown groups.


The VRF pathway can be accurately detected in a nonfilled tooth using limited field of view CBCT imaging. The presence of gutta-percha generated a low beam hardening artifact that did not hinder the VRF extent. The presence of an intracanal gold post made the fracture line appear smaller than it really was in the sagittal images; in the axial images, a VRF was only detected when the apical third was involved. The presence of a metal crown did not generate additional artifacts on the root surface compared to the intracanal gold post by itself.

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