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Chin J Dent Res. 2019;22(2):113-122. doi: 10.3290/j.cjdr.a42515.

Morphological Changes of the Root Apex in Permanent Teeth with Failed Endodontic Treatment.



To determine the number, shape and diameter of apical foramina as well as changes in root apex morphology of permanent teeth with failed endodontic treatment.


Clinical records were collected for teeth diagnosed with posttreatment periapical periodontitis that subsequently underwent endodontic microsurgery. Resected root apices were examined with stereomicroscopy. The number, shape and diameter of apical foramina were recorded. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to investigate the presence and extent of apical external root resorption and evaluate how it was influenced by sex, age, tooth position, periapical radiolucency size and periapical lesion biopsy results. External root resorption was classified according to site (periforaminal or foraminal), and the extent of resorption was graded as 0, 1, 2 or 3.


A total of 112 teeth with 112 apices were examined. The mean diameter of the main apical foramina was 420.78 µm. The apical foramen was most commonly irregularly shaped (68.39%). The incidence of multiple foramina was 48.21%. SEM revealed that 96.43% of apices had periforaminal resorption (PR) and 94.64% had foraminal resorption (FR). The existence and extent of external root resorption were not correlated with sex, age, tooth position, periapical radiolucency size or periapical lesion biopsy results (P > 0.05).


Apical foramina of permanent teeth with failed endodontic treatment were commonly irregularly shaped, with a mean diameter of approximately 420 µm. Nearly half of the samples had multiple foramina. There was a high prevalence of apical external root resorption. A relationship may exist between morphological changes in the root apex and treatment failure.


apical foramen; endodontic surgery; posttreatment periapical periodontitis; root canal therapy; root resorption

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