The accumulation of debris occurs after root canal preparation procedures specifically in fins, isthmus, irregularities, and ramifications. The aim of this study was to present a step-by-step description of a new method used to longitudinally identify, measure, and 3-dimensionally map the accumulation of hard-tissue debris inside the root canal after biomechanical preparation using free software for image processing and analysis.
Three mandibular molars presenting the mesial root with a large isthmus width and a type II Vertucci's canal configuration were selected and scanned. The specimens were assigned to 1 of 3 experimental approaches: (1) 5.25% sodium hypochlorite + 17% EDTA, (2) bidistilled water, and (3) no irrigation. After root canal preparation, high-resolution scans of the teeth were accomplished, and free software packages were used to register and quantify the amount of accumulated hard-tissue debris in either canal space or isthmus areas.
Canal preparation without irrigation resulted in 34.6% of its volume filled with hard-tissue debris, whereas the use of bidistilled water or NaOCl followed by EDTA showed a reduction in the percentage volume of debris to 16% and 11.3%, respectively. The closer the distance to the isthmus area was the larger the amount of accumulated debris regardless of the irrigating protocol used.
Through the present method, it was possible to calculate the volume of hard-tissue debris in the isthmuses and in the root canal space. Free-software packages used for image reconstruction, registering, and analysis have shown to be promising for end-user application.