Accurate length determination of root canal is essential in root canal therapy. Radiography has been the conventional method for this measurement but recently several studies have shown that new generations of Electronic Apex locators are as accurate as radiography in length determination.
The apex locator is a highly precise electronic instrument used in root canal therapy to determinate the length of the root canal space of our teeth. The apex of the root has a specific resistance to electrical current, and this is measured using a pair of electrodes typically hooked into the lip and attached to an endodontic file. The principle is relatively simple and is based on electrical resistance.
When a circuit is complete, resistance decreases markedly and current suddenly begins to flow. Depending from the instrument, this process is signaled by a beep, a buzz, a flashing light, digital readouts, or a pointer on a dial. Using apex locators, a maximal indication of the file location is displayed, with a measuring tolerance of 0.1 mm in the apical region. The root canal is optimally cleaned right up to the apical constriction, without any fear of perforation to the periapical tissue.
Electronic apex locators reduce the number of radiographs/x-rays required and assist where radiographic methods create difficulty. The use of the locator significantly increase the success rate of root canal treatments.
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