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 »  Home  »  Endodontic Articles 1  »  Occlusal loading of EBA and MTA root-end fillings in a computer-controlled masticator: a scanning electron microscopic study
Occlusal loading of EBA and MTA root-end fillings in a computer-controlled masticator: a scanning electron microscopic study
Introduction - Materials and methods.

Endodontic surgery may be indicated in cases where posts cannot be removed, following recent prosthodontic treatment, where apical radiolucencies persist and when root canal systems are inaccessible (Sultan & Pitt Ford 1995). Failure of endodontic surgery may be a result of a poor seal with the root-end filling, difficulties encountered during surgical procedures, untreated root canals and unsealed isthmus areas (Weller et al . 1995). To avoid leakage of pathogens and toxins from infected root canals, an apical seal is established by resecting approximately 3 mm of the root-end with no or a small bevel angle (Carr 1994, Gilheany et al . 1994), the preparation of a root-end cavity (Von Arx et al . 1998) and the placement of a root-end filling.
Dye penetration studies have been undertaken to assess leakage of Super-EBA (EBA) (Saunders et al . 1994, Gagliani et al . 1998) and Mineral Trioxide Aggregate (MTA) (Torabinejad et al . 1993, Aqrabawi 2000), but this methodology is also known to have drawbacks (Sultan & Pitt Ford 1995). Air entrapment, use of pressure and the unsuitable molecular size of dyes can contribute to variation of the results (Wu et al . 1994, Kazemi & Spångberg 1995). Furthermore, dye penetration studies are destructive and do not reveal the influence of mastication on leakage of a root-end filling material. Fluid transport models comparing microleakage of MTA and amalgam (Yatsushiro et al . 1998) or EBA, amalgam and MTA (Wu et al . 1998) showed less microleakage when root-end fillings consisted of MTA rather than in EBA and amalgam. However, the application of solutions under pressure does not represent clinical conditions and dye or isotope molecules lack correlation to bacterial leakage. Nevertheless, dye penetration is the most frequently used method to evaluate the sealing ability of root-end filling materials (Torabinejad & Pitt Ford 1996).
Bacterial leakage studies have been recommended to test root-end filling materials in order to overcome the disadvantages related to dyes and radioisotopes (Wong et al . 1994). Nevertheless, these methods also have shortcomings, and are not readily comparable to clinical conditions (Torabinejad & Pitt Ford 1996).
Another approach to assess the sealing ability of a filling material is to determine the quality of marginal adaptation under a scanning electron microscope. This method has been used to evaluate root-end filling materials (Stabholz et al . 1985). The marginal adaptations of amalgam EBA, IRM and MTA root-end fillings have been evaluated using an SEM, revealing that MTA had better adaptation (Torabinejad et al . 1995).
In order to simulate clinical conditions as closely as possible, restorations such as composite fillings have been subjected to chewing cycles in a computer-controlled masticator (Krejci et al . 1990b, Airoldi et al . 1992, Krejci et al . 1993). The aim of this scanning electron microscopic study was to evaluate the marginal adaptation of EBA and MTA root-end filling materials before and after occlusal loading in vitro for a five-year equivalent period in a computer-controlled masticator. The effect of occlusal loading on microcrack formation in the root-ends was also investigated.

Materials and methods.
Twelve maxillary and 12 mandibular human molars were prepared to an apical size 40 using conventional techniques and root-filled with laterally condensed gutta-percha and AH Plus (DeTrey-Dentsply, Konstanz, Germany) as the sealer. The specimens were randomly divided into two equal groups of 12 teeth each and stored in 0.1% thymol solution. The specimens were fixed into custom-made holders so that approximately 3 mm of the root apex could be resected with a handpiece (Kavo Dental AG, Brugg, Switzerland) and a diamond bur (Perioset, no. 575, Intensiv, Viganello, Switzerland) at 10000 r.p.m., with copious amounts of water coolant (Peters et al . 2001).
In maxillary molars, the mesio-buccal and palatal roots were used; in mandibular molars, root-end cavities were prepared in both the mesial and distal roots. Preparation of the root-end cavities was performed using two types of ultrasonic tips (CT-2, EIE Analytic, Glendora, CA, USA and EA 2068 A, EMS, Nyon, Switzerland) with continuous water coolant in an ultrasonic unit (EMS 400, EMS). In each specimen, one root-end cavity was prepared with a CT-2 tip, whilst the other cavity was prepared with an EA tip. The root-end cavities were extended 3 mm into the root canal. All root-end cavities were prepared under a stereomicroscope at 10 to 15 magnification.
After root-end cavity preparation, the cavities were examined under a stereomicroscope at 10 to 15 magnification. Debris was washed away using water and compressed air from a dental unit. The root-end cavities and resection surfaces were dried using compressed air. The teeth were kept moist at all times by keeping them wrapped in gauze saturated with tap water.

Root-end fillings.
Following the randomly assigned numbers of the specimens, one of the two root-end cavities in each tooth was filled with fast set EBA (Harry J. Bosworth, Skokie, IL, USA) and the other filled with Pro Root MTA (Dentsply Maillefer, Ballaigues, Switzerland) using hand instruments specially designed for microsurgical endodontics (Micro Retro Modul, Martin, Tuttlingen, Germany). An equal distribution of filling material and root type was obtained by ensuring that an equal number of mesial, distal, palatal and mesio-buccal roots were filled with EBA and MTA.
Twenty-four root-end cavities were filled with each material: 12 mesial and 12 distal roots in mandibular molars and 12 palatal and 12 mesio-buccal roots in maxillary molars. The teeth were kept wrapped in moistened gauze during the entire filling procedure, exposing only the surface of the resected root-end. After the rootend filling was completed, the specimens were returned into the vials containing 0.1% thymol solution. Setting times according to the manufacturers’ instructions were 45–90 s for Super EBA (fast set) and 4 h for MTA. To ensure complete setting of both filling materials, the extracted teeth remained immersed in 0.1% thymol solution for 24 h.
Setting of the filling materials was verified by exerting light pressure on the surface of the fillings with a periodontal probe. Subsequently, the EBA root-end fillings were smoothed using water-cooled diamond burs (Perioset, #540 and #515, Intensiv, Viganello, Switzerland), rotating at 10 000 r.p.m.
Impressions of the root-ends were taken before and after the chewing cycles (President, Coltène, Altstätten, Switzerland) and replicas were made using a transparent resin (Stycast, Emerson & Cuming, Oevel, Belgium). The replicas were gold-sputtered (500 A , Balzers CSD 030, Balzers, Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein) for examination in a scanning electron microscope (Amray 1810 T, Bedford, MA, USA). Photomicrographs were taken at 20 and 50 magnification. Regions of special interest were photographed at 100 magnification.

Crack formation.
Replicas of the root-end surfaces were examined under an SEM at 20 magnification. Occurrence and location of microcracks was noted before and after occlusal loading of the specimens. The type of root in which the microcrack had occurred was noted and the type of microcrack was classified. The microcracks were divided into four types: Incomplete canal cracks extending from the canal lumen into the surrounding dentine, complete canal cracks (through and through cracks), intradentine cracks that were confined to the dentine and cemental cracks originating in the cemental surface, running into the root dentine and stopping short of the canal lumen.

Marginal adaptation.
Replicas of the root-end fillings were examined at 200 magnification before occlusal loading and re-examined after the specimens were subjected to the chewing cycles. Marginal adaptation and continuity of the two filling materials were categorized as:

  1. Continuous margin: No gap visible between root-end cavity wall and filling material
    a) Overfilled margin: Filling material covers interface between filling and dentine
    b) Underfilled margin: Surface of filling material below level of surface of resected root-end
  2. Non-continuous margin: Gap apparent between rootend cavity wall and filling material

The data for margin quality were assessed by utilizing a frame grabber card and image analysis software (NIH 1.61, NIH Bethesda, MD, USA). Percentages of continuous and non-continuous margin were calculated according to the formula (Airoldi et al . 1992): Sum of lengths of visibly open margin [pixels] 100/total length of margin [pixels].

Preparation of the specimens for occlusal loading.
To simulate a periodontal ligament, the root surfaces of the 24 specimens were covered with an approximately 1 mm thick coating of silicon (Dow Corning 734, Dow Corning, Wiesbaden, Germany) using a small brush. The roots of the specimens were then embedded in resin (Paladur, Kulzer, Wehrheim, Germany). The same resin was used to mount specimens onto metal stubs (014001-T, Balzers). The stubs were fastened into a holding device in the testing chambers of the computer-controlled masticator. The antagonist in the chewing act was a palatal cusp of a maxillary molar that had previously been set into the testing chamber. Depending on the size of the access cavity, the contact areas between antagonists were either on enamel or on temporary fillings.

Computer-controlled masticator.
The in vitro occlusal loading (Krejci et al . 1993) was performed in a computer-controlled masticator (Department of Preventive Dentistry, Periodontology & Cariology, Zürich Dental School, University of Zurich). The amount of pressure applied was 49.4 0.7 N. The specimens were subjected to 10 chewing cycles per min. The force was directed axially onto the test specimens which had been secured on a rubber connector on a 20 plane. Occlusal loading was continued for 1.2 million cycles or a five-year equivalent. During loading, the specimens remained immersed in tap water at a temperature of 37 C.

Statistical analysis.
Means ( SD) were tested statistically using repeatedmeasures anova (Stat View II, Abacus, Berkley, CA, USA). Comparisons of microcrack formation numbers were completed using chi-squared tests. The level of significance was set at 0.05.

Article Series
This article is part 1 of a 3 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. Occlusal loading of EBA and MTA root-end fillings in a computer-controlled masticator: a scanning electron microscopic study
  2. Mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA) and calcium hydroxide as pulp-capping agents in human teeth: a preliminary report
  3. Short-term periradicular tissue response to mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA) as root-end filling material