The success of an endodontic treatment relies on a correct working length determination. The canal terminus must be detected accurately and a precise control of the working length during the endodontic treatment must be maintained. The aim of this study was to investigate the working length determination in vivo with the Quill Apex Locator® for apical limit established at 1 mm short from the apical foramen (AF). Patients scheduled to dental extraction due to orthodontic or periodontal reasons were selected for this study, resulting in a sample of 24 root canals. Written informed consent was obtained from each patient before the treatment. After the administration of local anesthesia each tooth had its pulp cavity accessed. Next, the reading corresponding to the AF showed on the device's display was recorded and the file was removed. With the use of a digital caliper, 1 mm was subtracted from that first measurement. The file with the new measurement was introduced into to the root canal again then fixed with light curing flow composite and the tooth was extracted. Next, one of the apical third walls was worn out to visualize the instrument's point and the AF. The distance from the file tip to the AF was measured by scanning electron microscopy. The average of the measurements was 1.089±0.437 mm. The Bicaudal t-test showed no significant difference (p=0.338) between the experimental values and the hypothetical value tested at 1 mm. The present investigation confirmed that the Quill Apex Locator® was able to determine the working length with good reliability for the endodontic treatment, established at 1 mm short from the AF.
electronic apex locators; endodontics; working length