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Int Endod J. 2004 Feb;37(2):139-44.

C-shaped root canals of mandibular second molars in a Korean population: clinical observation and in vitro analysis.

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Department of Conservative Dentistry, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, The Institute of Oral Health Science, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.



To investigate the incidence and morphology of C-shaped root canals of the mandibular second molar in a Korean population.


Through clinical observation, randomly selected 272 mandibular second molars of Korean patients were accessed and evaluated after taking radiographs for determination of working length. In an in vitro analysis, 96 extracted mandibular second molars of Korean patients were collected and embedded in resin using an Endodontic cube technique, and were sectioned at intervals of 1 mm. The specimens were then observed with a surgical microscope and were photographed. Canal configurations were assigned to one of three categories: Category I defined a C-shaped outline without any separation; Category II referred to those with canal configurations, where dentine separated one distinct canal from a buccal or lingual C-shaped canal; Category III had two or more discrete and separate canals.


In clinical observation, 89 of 272 teeth (32.7%) had C-shaped canals. Of the 96 teeth examined in vitro, 30 (31.3%) had C-shaped canals. Upon in vitro analysis, only 1 tooth at the subpulpal level and 10 teeth at the apical 1 mm level were categorized under Category III.


There was high prevalence of C-shaped root canals in the mandibular second molars of Koreans. C-shaped canals having semicolon and continuous shapes at the canal orifice have a high possibility of being divided into two or three canals in the apical region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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