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Int Endod J. 2005 Dec;38(12):904-13.

Three-dimensional, non-destructive visualization of vertical root fractures using flat panel volume detector computer tomography: an ex vivo in vitro case report.

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Department of Operative Dentistry, Preventive Dentistry and Periodontology, University of Göttingen, Germany.



To detect and to visualize radiographically vertical root fractures in extracted teeth with a prototype of a novel, high resolution, three-dimensional flat panel volume detector computer tomograph (FD-VCT) system.


Five teeth with root fillings and clinical symptoms such as fistulas and isolated periodontal pockets of 8 mm or more were extracted after dental radiography indicating lateral or periapical lesions. Vertical root fractures or cracks were suspected because of the symptoms and clinical findings were evident after extraction in all cases but fracture lines were not visible on routine dental radiographs acquired before extraction. The extracted teeth were explored with a prototype of a FD-VCT. Using the FD-VCT, in all cases vertical root fractures or crack lines could be detected clearly in different views, depiction-modes and cross-sections at a spatial resolution of 140 microm. The evaluation of the fracture lines and teeth could be performed in three-dimensional views. The FD-VCT findings were confirmed by detailed inspection of the extracted teeth.


The FD-VCT is an innovative diagnostic tool for non-destructive, three-dimensional evaluation of extracted teeth in pre-clinical and experimental studies. The FD-VCT allows precise visualization and evaluation of vertical root fractures or cracks in extracted teeth. Clinical application of the system may be possible if technical modifications reduce the exposure dose: the high resolution detector systems of the FD-VCT should be combined with radiation systems that focus the radiation to the area of interest.

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