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J Endod. 2003 Sep;29(9):567-75.

Analysis of mechanical preparations in extracted teeth using ProTaper rotary instruments: value of the safety quotient.

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University Hospital Center of Montpellier, France.


The purpose of this study was to apply the Endographe to analyze the vertical forces and torque developed during mechanical preparations in extracted teeth. The data collected in this study may be used to calculate the safety quotient (SQ) as proposed by J.T. McSpadden. The SQ formula is defined as the torque required to break a file at D3 divided by the mean working torque required to cut dentin. The Endographe is a unique force-analyzer device equipped to measure, record, and generate graphs of the vertical forces and torque exerted during root canal preparation. All preparations were performed by endodontists in roots with narrow, more restrictive canals, larger, more open canals, or in roots sectioned in two halves. All canals, including the sectioned canals, were prepared with ProTaper files in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines for use. For narrow canals, the mean values of the generated vertical forces (g) and torque ( varied from 80 (+/- 20) g (SX) to 232 (+/- 60) g (F2) and from 80 (+/- 24) g x cm (F1) to 150 (+/- 45) g x cm (S2), respectively. For large canals, the mean values of the generated vertical forces (g) and torque (g x cm) varied from 80 (+/- 20) g (SX) to 340 (+/- 20) g (F1) and from 31 (+/- 9) g x cm (S2) to 96 (+/- 35) g x cm (SX), respectively. The SQ varied from 0.93 to 7.95 for narrow canals and from 1.58 to 14.50 for large canals. The SQ is intended to provide values that can be analyzed to predict whether a rotary file will have a tendency to break or will work safely during clinical use. However, if the formula is going to provide useful information, it must index the "rotation to failure torque" with the "mean working torque" at a specific location along the cutting blades of a file. Additionally, this mathematical formula does not account for factors such as the concentration of forces, the way the instruments are used, or the wear of the instruments. A precise protocol for canal preparation should emphasize using small flexible stainless steel hand files to create or verify that within any portion of a root canal there is sufficient space for rotary instruments to follow. When there is a confirmed smooth, reproducible glide path, then a "secured" space exists to safely guide the more flexible terminal extent of a rotary NiTi file. Endogrammes provide an innovative approach to the analysis of mechanical preparations and suggest that the ProTaper shaping files are best used with lateral forces to decrease the coronal screwing effect. The ProTaper finishing files should be used with slow penetration and be introduced only into canals that have a confirmed smooth and reproducible glide path. When any part of the overall length of a canal has been secured, then the number of instruments, the time spent utilizing each instrument, and the overall time progressing through a sequence of instruments to shape this region of the canal is reduced.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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