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Int Endod J. 2017 Jul;50(7):629-635. doi: 10.1111/iej.12671. Epub 2016 Oct 3.

Characteristics of teeth referred to a public dental specialist clinic in endodontics.

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Department of Endodontology, Institute of Odontology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.



To investigate referrals to a specialist clinic in endodontics in relation to previously root filled teeth and to determine how many of these teeth had a history of symptoms and the extent to which antibiotics were prescribed.


The total number of referrals to the specialist clinic in endodontics in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2011 was investigated retrospectively by means of patient records. The endodontic status together with the presence or absence of symptoms was registered. The following variables were also examined: gender, age, tooth number and lower or upper jaw. Additionally for root filled teeth, the type of restoration, the technical quality of the root filling and the presence of apical periodontitis were registered. The use of antibiotics was examined for all of the included teeth. Statistical analysis was performed using generalized estimating equation methods applied to univariable and multivariable logistic regression.


A total of 1117 patient records were investigated, including 1341 referred teeth. Pain and/or swelling were recorded for 658 (54.3%) teeth. Symptoms were significantly more associated with females (P < 0.0001) and molar teeth (P < 0.0001). Seven hundred twenty-nine (54.4%) of the referred teeth were root filled, and of these, 377 (56.0%) were associated with pain and/or swelling. Root filled teeth restored with a post and core were less frequently related to symptoms (P = 0.009). One hundred sixty-two (22.3%) root filled teeth were treated with antibiotics, which was significantly more frequent than for non-root filled teeth (P < 0.0001). Also, root filled teeth with an adequate root filling were significantly associated with more frequent antibiotics prescriptions (23.8%) than root filled teeth with an inadequate root filling (17.0%) (P = 0.0010).


Root filled teeth constituted the majority of cases referred to this specialist clinic in endodontics. The majority of these teeth were associated with symptomatic conditions, and antibiotics were prescribed to approximately 20% of the patients referred for a root filled tooth. The findings suggest that symptomatic root filled teeth may be a substantial clinical problem in general dentistry and contribute to avoidable prescription of antibiotics.


antibiotics; root filled teeth; specialists; symptoms

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