• canal geometry;
  • micro-CT;
  • Ni–Ti;
  • quantitative analysis


Aim The aim of this study was to compare the effects of four preparation techniques on canal volume and surface area using three-dimensionally reconstructed root canals in extracted human maxillary molars. In addition, µCT data was used to describe morphometric parameters related to the four preparation techniques.

Methodology  A micro computed tomography scanner was used to analyse root canals in extracted maxillary molars. Specimens were scanned before and after canals were prepared using Ni–Ti – K-Files, Lightspeed instruments, ProFile .04 and GT rotary instruments. Differences in dentine volume removed, canal straightening, the proportion of unchanged area and canal transportation were calculated using specially developed software.

Results Instrumentation of canals increased volume and surface area. Prepared canals were significantly more rounded, had greater diameters and were straighter than unprepared canals. However, all instrumentation techniques left 35% or more of the canals’ surface area unchanged. Whilst there were significant differences between the three canal types investigated, very few differences were found with respect to instrument types.

Conclusions Within the limitations of the µCT system, there were few differences between the four canal instrumentation techniques used. By contrast, a strong impact of variations of canal anatomy was demonstrated. Further studies with 3D-techniques are required to fully understand the biomechanical aspects of root canal preparation.