Comparison of alternative image reformatting techniques in micro-computed tomography and tooth clearing for detailed canal morphology
Journal of Endodontics
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Introduction Micro-computed tomography (MCT) shows detailed root canal morphology that is not seen with traditional tooth clearing. However, alternative image reformatting techniques in MCT involving 2-dimensional (2D) minimum intensity projection (MinIP) and 3-dimensional (3D) volume-rendering reconstruction have not been directly compared with clearing. The aim was to compare alternative image reformatting techniques in MCT with tooth clearing on the mesiobuccal (MB) root of maxillary first molars. Methods Eighteen maxillary first molar MB roots were scanned, and 2D MinIP and 3D volume-rendered images were reconstructed. Subsequently, the same MB roots were processed by traditional tooth clearing. Images from 2D, 3D, 2D + 3D, and clearing techniques were assessed by 4 endodontists to classify canal configuration and to identify fine anatomic structures such as accessory canals, intercanal communications, and loops. Results All image reformatting techniques in MCT showed detailed configurations and numerous fine structures, such that none were classified as simple type I or II canals; several were classified as types III and IV according to Weine classification or types IV, V, and VI according to Vertucci; and most were nonclassifiable because of their complexity. The clearing images showed less detail, few fine structures, and numerous type I canals. Classification of canal configuration was in 100% intraobserver agreement for all 18 roots visualized by any of the image reformatting techniques in MCT but for only 4 roots (22.2%) classified according to Weine and 6 (33.3%) classified according to Vertucci, when using the clearing technique. Conclusions The combination of 2D MinIP and 3D volume-rendered images showed the most detailed canal morphology and fine anatomic structures. Copyright © 2014 American Association of Endodontists.