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Traditional radiography is limited in its ability to give reliable information on the number and morphology of root canals. The application of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) provides a non-invasive three-dimensional confirmatory diagnosis as a complement to conventional radiography. The aim of this study was to evaluate the root and canal morphology of mandibular premolars in a western Chinese population using CBCT scanning.
The sample included 149 CBCT images comprising 178 mandibular first premolars and 178 second premolars. The tooth position, number of roots and canals, and canal configuration according to Vertucci’s classification were recorded.
The results showed that 98% of mandibular first premolars had one root and 2% had two roots; 87.1% had one canal, 11.2% had two canals and 0.6% had three canals. The prevalence of C-shaped canals was 1.1%. All mandibular second premolars had one root; 97.2% had one canal and 2.2% had two canals. The prevalence of C-shaped canals was 0.6%.
The prevalence of multiple canals in mandibular first premolars was mainly of Type V, and mandibular second premolars had a low rate of canal variation in this western Chinese population. Root canal bifurcation occurred at the middle or apical third in most bicanal mandibular premolars. CBCT scanning can be used in the management of mandibular premolars with complex canal morphology.