Pulp size in molars: underestimation on radiographs.

N P Chandler, T R Pitt Ford, B D Monteith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The aim was to determine whether radiographs provide a clinically useful indication of pulp size in diseased/restored human first molar teeth, and to investigate accessibility of pulp tissue for diagnostic testing using laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF). Extracted teeth of known age were collected. Restorative materials were removed and teeth with evidence of pulp exposures excluded. Fifty-six teeth were radiographed from buccal and mesial aspects, and then their crowns were sectioned axiobuccolingually and photographed. Images were digitally scanned and measurements made of the total pulp area (above a line across the most superior part of the pulpal floor) and the pulp area in the clinical crown (superior to a line between the amelocemental junctions). The pulp width at the cervix and the highest point of the pulp were also recorded. Data were analysed using Pearson correlations. Pulp areas within the clinical crowns were significantly larger than indicated by radiographs, by 23% in the case of the clinically attainable buccal view (P <0.05). Pulps may be more accessible to flowmeter testing than they appear. Absence of pulp tissues in the crown was recorded in equal numbers of teeth on radiographs and sections, but with agreement for only one tooth. Sixteen per cent of the teeth had no pulp area in the clinical crown when sectioned, but might still be suitable for testing using LDF.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764 - 769
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


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