HOME - Clinical cases - Endodontics
21 September 2023

Teaching apical patency, instrumentation and obturation techniques in U.S. dental schools


Maintaining apical patency has been advocated to minimize canal transportation, ledge formation, and loss of working length, despite increasing debris extrusion. A previous study in 1997 by Cailleteau and Mullaney reported 50% of U.S. dental schools taught patency.

This present study aimed to evaluate recent trends in endodontic education in United States dental schools, in relation to the prevalence of maintaining apical patency and examining the primary methods of working length determination, instrumentation, obturation, and temporization.


A survey of 20 questions was distributed to 65 schools via e-mail and was available from July 2021 to September 2021.


Seventy-three percent of the 46 responding schools reported that they teach patency, with 8% of this number reporting that they do so exclusively to endodontic residents. Notably, a significantly lower number of schools reported teaching patency exclusively to endodontic students compared with the Cailleteau and Mullaney study despite a significantly higher percentage of schools teaching patency overall.

The most common method used to determine working length was an electronic apex locator at the 0.5 reading. Vortex Blue was the most commonly used file system used by both predoctoral and postdoctoral programs.

Lateral condensation was the primary obturation technique taught in predoctoral programs, whereas warm vertical condensation was the primary obturation technique in postdoctoral programs.

The study also found that 57% of schools reported using intraorifice barriers, and the most common temporary filling was glass ionomer.


A greater portion of schools teaches patency compared with the previous study in 1997. The data collected in this survey may serve as a baseline for similar studies in the future regarding changes in endodontic education over time.

Tiffany Do et al. "Prevalence of Teaching Apical Patency and Various Instrumentation and Obturation Techniques in United States Dental Schools: Two Decades Later." Journal of Endodontics. 6 July 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joen.2023.06.019.

Read more

USA     30 November 2023 - 02 December 2023

2023 Dental Implant Conference

Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Chicago

The 2023 Dental Implant Conference offers an intensive educational program of innovative techniques and procedures for the entire implant team, presented by an internationally renowned faculty of...

Oral cancer (OC) is one of the most common forms of head and neck cancer and continues to have the lowest survival rates worldwide, despite advances in research and therapy. The prognosis of OC has...

Due to high demand, applications have opened early for Glidewell’s 2024 Guiding Leaders program. Returning for its fourth year, Guiding Leaders is an in-person business and leadership development...

If there’s one word that encapsulates Lauren Chapman’s adult life, it’s leader. From captain of the cheerleading team as a Penn State undergrad, to serving as a Surface Warfare Officer in the...

Clinux CAD, the world’s first cloud-based CAD software designed for dentists, is proud to announce three innovations, expanding its range of possibilities for customers.



Most popular