Identification of resected root-end dentinal cracks: A comparative study of transillumination and dyes

Henry M. Wright, Robert J. Loushine, R. Norman Weller, W. Frank Kimbrough, Jennifer Waller, David H. Pashley

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46 Scopus citations


The dilemma of diagnosing and possibly treating dentinal cracks continues to present a challenge in endodontics. The purpose of this in vitro study was to compare the effectiveness of transillumination and dyes in identifying root-end dentinal cracks. Fifty maxillary central incisors were decoronated, and the canals were instrumented to an ISO size 50 at the working length. The apical 3 mm of the roots was resected, and cracks were artificially created in the apical dentin. Four independent examiners evaluated the root ends at x8 magnification with a surgical operating microscope using transillumination (group 1), sodium fluorescein dye (group 2), caries detect dye (group 3), methylene blue dye (group 4), and methylene blue plus transillumination (group 5). The examiners' ability to identify root ends correctly with and without cracks was analyzed by comparing the data with the predetermined standard (cracked and noncracked) using logistic regression analysis. All techniques used were shown to be more effective than random chance at diagnosing cracks. The areas under the curve of the different techniques were as follows: transillumination, 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.69-0.93); sodium fluorescein, 0.72 (95% CI, 0.58-0.86); caries detector, 0.76 (95% CI, 0.63-0.89); methylene blue, 0.70 (95% CI, 0.55-0.84); and methylene blue plus transillumination, 0.82 (95% CI, 0.70-0.94). Thus, the crack assessment techniques that gave the best discrimination between cracked and non-cracked specimens, regardless of rater, was methylene blue plus transillumination. This study emphasizes the usefulness of transillumination along with magnification in detecting dentinal cracks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-715
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of endodontics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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