• binding file;
  • canal diameter


Aim The aim of this study was to determine whether the first file that binds at the working length corresponds to the canal diameter.

Methodology Two similar groups (n = 10) of mandibular premolars with curved canals were selected on the basis of their morphology. Following access and pulp tissue removal, the first instrument that bound in each canal at the working length was determined. In one group the instrument used was a K-file, in the other group a Lightspeed instrument was used. After fixing the instruments in place, the apices were ground to the level of the working length and the diameters of both the instrument and the apical canal were recorded.

Results In 75% of the canals, the instruments bound at one side of the wall only; in the other 25%, the instrument did not contact the wall. In 90% of the canals, the diameter of the instrument was smaller than the short diameter of the canal; this discrepancy was up to 0.19 mm. No significant difference in discrepancy was found between instruments (P > 0.05).

Conclusions Neither the first K-file nor the first Lightspeed instrument that bound at the working length accurately reflected the diameter of the apical canal in curved mandibular premolars. It is uncertain whether dentine can be removed from the entire circumference of the canal wall by filing the root canal to three sizes larger than the file that binds first.