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Effectiveness of four electronic apex locators to determine distance from the apical foramen

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Stoll R, Urban-Klein B, Roggendorf MJ, Jablonski-Momeni A, Strauch K, Frankenberger R. Effectiveness of four electronic apex locators to determine distance from the apical foramen. International Endodontic Journal, 43, 808–817, 2010. Abstract Aim 

To evaluate the accuracy of four electronic apex locators (EAL) in the apical region (0–3 mm short of the foramen) and to compare the precision of the readings on the display with the real position of the file in the root canal. Methodology 

Twenty single-rooted extracted teeth with round root canals were used. The canal orifices were preflared, and the length to the major foramen was determined visually under a microscope. Canals were enlarged, so that a size 15 file fitted well inside the canal. Teeth were mounted in acrylic test tubes filled with physiologic saline solution. Electronic length was determined in the region between the major foramen and 3 mm short of it in 0.5 mm steps with the Dentaport ZX, Root ZX mini, Elements Diagnostic Unit and Apex Locator and Raypex 5 using files of size 10 and size 15. The data were analysed using linear regression between true length and EAL reading, Bland–Altman plots and nonparametric tests at a significance level of alpha = 0.05. Results 

The major foramen was detected by all EALs. With a measurement file positioned directly at the major foramen, meter readings were equivalent to a position 0.01–0.38 mm away. For the Dentaport ZX, a better accuracy using the size 15 file for the area 0–1.5 mm short of the apex was found. The differences in measurements between the two files were smaller for the other EALs. In linear regression, a good linearity for Dentaport ZX and Root ZX mini and moderate linearity for Elements Diagnostic Unit and Apex Locator and Raypex 5 were found. The slope of the measurement curve was too low (0.37–0.57) for the Raypex 5 and almost optimal for the Dentaport ZX (1.01–1.05). The Root ZX mini and the Elements Obturation Unit produced lower slope values and especially the Elements Obturation Unit revealed much higher SDs at the different measurement levels. Conclusion 

Amongst the four EALs, the Dentaport ZX and Root ZX mini had the best agreement between true lengths and meter readings. For the Raypex 5, an interpretation of the colour-coded zones as distance to the foramen cannot be recommended and might lead to erroneous interpretations.
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Keywords: apical region; electronic apex locator; meter reading display; root canal length determination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Dental School 2: Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Dental School 3: Institute of Medical Biometry and Epidemiology, Philipps University of Marburg, Germany

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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