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Recall (22 Years) CBCT Exam

Terry Pannkuk, DDS, MScDRecall Observations, Sample Cases, All by Date


Preoperative radiograph, patient presented with a necrotic pulp and purulent drainage upon access


Immediate post-treatment radiograph, after leaving the access cavity prep open for 6 days, the patient was scheduled and endodontic treatment finished (#2, 1990)


22 year recall radiograph (#2, 2012)


3-D CBCT image capture (2012)


Capture of CBCT saggital section showing filled palatal roots of the right maxillary first and second molars (2012)


Saggital and frontal section CBCT views of the right maxillary second molar-palatal root (2012)


Saggital and frontal section CBCT views of the right maxillary second molar MB root, note the confluent MB1-MB2 system (2012)


Transverse CBCT section showing 2 canals in the MB root of #2 but only one canal found in #3


Saggital section CBCT view of the #2 buccal roots.


Decision Tree (#2)

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Patient: 76-year-old woman with glaucoma

Chief Complaint: Toothache and Swelling (1990)

Dental History: Crowns (#’s 2, 3 and 4) and endodontic treatment on teeth #’s 3, and 4 performed 10 years earlier (1980). Endodontic access had been performed on tooth #2 without root canal filling material.

Significant Findings: slight percussion and palpation sensitivity associated with tooth #2 (1990)

Diagnosis: Incomplete root canal filling with necrosis and acute periradicular periodontitis (tooth #2, 1990)
Prognosis: Good

Treatment Plan: Nonsurgical Endodontic Treatment (tooth #2, 1990)

Treatment Description and Special Considerations:

The patient returned for treatment of another tooth. A recall CBCT scan of her maxillary 2nd molar that that the author treated in 1990. A recall examination of #2 revealed no signs of endodontic pathosis and healthy support tissues. When the patient initially presented with an abscess, the #2 tooth was accessed and left open for drainage. When the patient returned 6 days later, the canals were obturated and endodontic treatment finished. It is interesting to note protocol changes that have occured over a couple of decades. No microscope was used on this case. The tooth was temporized after treatment with a cotton pellet and the patient was referred back to the restorative dentist for an amalgam core and a new crown. The adjacent two teeth were treated by a different local endodontist and those treatments appear successful as well. The teeth in this quadrant appear to have no recurrent endodontic disease.

Key Learning Points:

  1. A patient’s host defense can overcome some deficiencies in endodontic technique, but idealizing clinical technique to debride and seal the root canal system protects the attachement apparatus with more predictability. It is well established that microbial pathogens and mediators of inflammation are the etiologic agents of root canal disease.
  2. A recall CBCT scan can highlight anatomical root canal features that may explain routes of endodontic disease. Transmission. In this case the root anatomy of both maxillary molars was relatively simple without demonstrable lateral canals and confluent MB1-MB2 root canal systems

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