Journal of Conservative Dentistry
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 80-84
A simplified technique of orthograde MTA obturation on the elected canals of posterior teeth: Two case reports

1 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, BBD College of Dental Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Faculty of Dental Sciences, King George Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Date of Submission07-Jun-2013
Date of Decision22-Sep-2013
Date of Acceptance11-Oct-2013
Date of Web Publication1-Jan-2014


This article suggests a simplified technique of orthograde MTA obturation in less accessible canal(s) of posteriors teeth without using costly ultrasonics or specialised carrier. Essentially few finger pluggers, absorbent points and a simple canal projection method were used. The orifice(s) of the elected canal(s) to be obturated with MTA were projected onto the external occlusal surface for easy delivery and predictive instrumentation. The idea was based on 'easy access', 'working one canal with one mix at one time', 'thorough condensation' and 'removal of excess moisture'.
In case I, palatal canal of tooth no. 2 with gross apical perforation and suspected VRF was obturated with MTA. And in Case II, tooth no. 19 presented with incomplete furcal fracture extending into the canal was obturated with MTA in all 3 canals unitarily. Dense homogenous MTA obturation was achieved and both cases healed uneventfully.

Keywords: Apical vertical root fracture; canal projection; incomplete fracture; orthograde mineral trioxide aggregate obturation; unitary approach

How to cite this article:
Wahengbam B, Wahengbam P, Tikku AP. A simplified technique of orthograde MTA obturation on the elected canals of posterior teeth: Two case reports. J Conserv Dent 2014;17:80-4

How to cite this URL:
Wahengbam B, Wahengbam P, Tikku AP. A simplified technique of orthograde MTA obturation on the elected canals of posterior teeth: Two case reports. J Conserv Dent [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Dec 2];17:80-4. Available from:

   Introduction Top

The literature is replete with data on mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA) for the management of various endodontic conditions like root end filling, [1] repair of root perforations [2] and resorptions, [3] vital pulp therapy, [4],[5] closure of open immature apex by apical plug [6] and other root-end inductive procedures. [7] This could be attributed to its endodontically favorable physicochemical and biological properties like superior sealing, good marginal adaptation, minimal microleakage, high biocompatibility and bioinductive and antimicrobial properties, etc., These favorable properties could be due to the slow leaching of calcium hydroxide and calcium ion from the set MTA. Tricalcium and dicalcium silicate react with water to produce calcium silicate hydrate and calcium hydroxide, which is leached out of the cement with time. Calcium ions in contact with tissue fluid react to form amorphous calcium phosphate, which is later transformed to carbonated apatite crystallites in the interface. [8]

Consequently, MTA has been suggested and successfully used by eminent clinicians and researchers to obturate the entire canal. [9],[10],[11] The Lawaty technique and the MTA obturation technique by Bogen and Kutler can also be exemplified. [12] But, orthograde MTA compaction still remains challenging and technique-sensitive. Porosities and inadequacies are commonly seen.

Our simplified technique of orthograde MTA obturation presented in the cases below will help even the beginners to achieve homogenous and dense MTA compaction even in the less-accessible posterior canals or in the badly mutilated teeth without the requirement of costly armamentarium.

   Case Reports Top

Case 1

A 31-year-old male patient visited my office for a persistent symptom associated with tooth no. 2. The medical history was noncontributory but he had a present history of unsatisfied endodontic treatment from his previous dentist with respect to this tooth. No written or radiographic records were available with him. His mouth opening was less than normal. On exploration, the mesiobuccal (MB) and distobuccal (DB) canals were found to be filled and were satisfactory. The unfilled palatal (PC) was well enlarged and prepared, but its apical constriction was grossly violated to such an extent that a 55 no. H file went through it easily [Figure 1]a. Apart from apical transportation and zipping, apical vertical root fracture (VRF) was also suspected. Therefore, of the many treatment options proposed, orthograde MTA obturation of the entire PC was elected and informed consent was granted.

The working length was determined electronically (Raypex 5, VDW GmbH, Munchen) and the canal was circumferentially filed upward using the H file no. 20 through 40. Further shaping was avoided as it was already shaped. Copious irrigation with 1.5% NaOCL and 15% EDTA was performed using a side-vented 27-gauge irrigation syringe. Then, white ProRoot MTA (Dentsply, Tulsa Dental Specialties, Tulsa, TN, USA) was packed in the PC [Figure 1]c as per the general technique described below [Figure 2]. The postoperative period was uneventful and tenderness to percussion resolved in 2 weeks' time.
Figure 1: Case I (a-d), Case II (e-h) and evaluation on extracted teeth (i-l). (a) Grossly violated unfi lled palatal foramen of tooth #2. (b) PC projected externally. (c) PC obturated with mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA). (d) 3 months postoperative. (e) Incomplete fracture extending from the mesiolingual canal to the distal canal of tooth #19. (f) All three canals projected externally. (g) MTA obturated in all canals. (h) One-year follow-up indicates healing. (i) Voids frequently noted when all canals are packed at one time. (j) Longitudinal section to compare the ortho and retro fi lls. (k) LS to show the extent of coronal and apical dye leakage. (l) Homogeneity of the interface as observed after demineralization

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Figure 2: Schematic illustration of the canal projection method and orthograde mineral trioxide aggregate compaction technique. Note: The elected canal is depicted as transported, apically perforated and gouged near the orifi ce. See text for description of the technique

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Obturate all normal canal(s) with gutta percha (GP) and leave the ones elected for MTA packing. Debride the chamber free of any sealer or GP remnants. Cut a 6% taper GP stump and plug the orifice and the coronal third of the elected canal snugly (alternately, any large metal plugger may also be used). Around 10 mm of the GP stump should be extruding out of the cavity to assist its removal later [Figure 2]a. Fill the entire cavity around the GP stump with a dual cure syringeable core composite material, e.g., Paracore (Coltene Whaledent, Switzerland) following the manufacturer's instructions [Figure 1]b and f. Slowly rotate and pull out the GP stump to establish a unit canal with its orifice projected to the external surface occlusally [Figure 2]b. Enlarge the transported orifice using safe end burs or GG drill to enhance the funnel size and to gain straighter access [Figure 2]c.

Select a set of three finger/handle pluggers (P1, P2 and P3). P1 is the largest plugger that goes till the working length without binding. It usually corresponds to the Master apical file (MAF) size or to one or two sizes lesser, depending on the canal curvature and the size of the preparation. P2 goes till the region of the junction of the apical and middle thirds or slightly beyond, but around 2-3 mm short of WL and P3 till the mid half. Also, select the largest lentulo spiral (LS) that goes to the junction of the apical and middle third without binding.

Now, irrigate the canal thoroughly and dry it using microsuction aspirators. Mix MTA with sterile water or proprietary liquid to a moderately viscous creamy consistency. Place the mix to the funnelled orifice using a fine cement carrier and tease it down briefly. Now, use LS at 1000 rpm in a slow pumping motion to carry it down to the middle third [Figure 2]d. LS may be introduced till the apical third if the apex is closed. If open, it can be completely avoided and, instead, P3 and P2 may be used sequentially. Now, insert P1 till the WL and give five to ten quick up and down strokes of 3-5 mm amplitude circumferentially [Figure 2]e. But, if the apical constriction is grossly violated, one or two slow light pushes 0.5 mm short of the WL with a thicker mix are preferable. Soak out the excess moisture from the canal using an absorbent point corresponding to the MAF size [Figure 2]f and work the P1 in a similar manner again. By this time, a hard apical base is felt and the WL will be shortened by around 0.5 mm. If this is not seen, then repeat the above step. As a greater length of MTA is condensed and the WL shortens by 3 mm or more, a radiographic confirmation is advised. Then, P2 takes the charge and a similar procedure is followed [Figure 2]g. The rest of the larger part of the canal is completed using P3 [Figure 2]h and the butt end of the larger paper points. After radiographically confirming the pack, a moist cotton is sandwiched and closed with temporary stoppings.

Note: Our technique did not require a messing gun, specialized carrier or ultrasonic vibration, but it is very important that the shortening of the WL while packing is gradual and in small thicknesses. The abrupt shortening by large thicknesses usually heralds inadequacies and porosities. This often happens due to introduction of large size pluggers or absorbent points out of the sequence in haste, particularly when the mix is crumbly or thick. Whenever it happens, P1 should be tried with little greater pressure to push it down, but it should be immediately confirmed radiographically. If porosities are evident, then try flushing with water or else peck it out with ultrasonic files.

Case 2

A 40-year-old asthmatic and phobic male was referred from a local clinic to manage the incomplete fracture of tooth no. 19 that runs from the mesiolingual canal (MLC) to the distal canal (DC) in the furcal region [Figure 1]e. There was persistent dull pain on biting that reportedly developed after the shaping session and after all the presenting symptoms of acute apical abscess were controlled. As per the previous records, the mesial and distal canals were prepared by protaper files (Dentsply Maillefer) up to F3 and F5, respectively. There was periapical radiolucency in the mesial root and minimally in the furcal region too.

With due informed consent, Interlig fiber (Angelus, Brazil) was bonded across the fracture and the rest of the core was built using a para core after blocking all three canal orifices with GP stumps [Figure 1]f. This partial core served as an intracoronal splint and bypassed the need of extracoronal splinting during treatment. It also helped in sealing the fracture in its earliest stage, restricting further ingress of microbes. After verifying the WL electronically, the canals were irrigated copiously with 1.5% NaOCL, 15% EDTA and 2% chlorhexidine solution, respectively. Then, each canal was unitarily obturated with pro root MTA as described in the technique above [Figure 1]g.

The recall visit at 1 year revealed radiographic evidence of osseous healing in relation to the mesial root apex, and there was no evidence of further furcal breakdown [Figure 1]h.

   Discussion Top

The canal projection method used in our technique could be a cheaper and easy alternative to projector endodontic instrument guidance systems (PEIGS, CJM Engineering, CA, USA) used for restoring badly broken down teeth prior to endodontic treatment. [13] The only modification needed is to shape the coronal third of the canal first. Apart from this, the other advantages of the unitary approach and our method of packing are: (1) Simplifies access to the less-accessible canals and there is no need of tedious orientation even if the internal anatomy of the pulp chamber is grossly violated and such are not uncommon in retreatment cases. It gives a feel like working on anterior teeth with a single canal. (2) Only the culprit canal(s) that require MTA is(are) selectively worked, (3) early strengthening and sealing of fracture is possible, (4) addition of water is not frequent; rather, one small fresh mix for one canal is our principal, (5) no specialized carrier or ultrasonic vibration is required. Hand condensation has also been reported to be the preferred method of orthograde placement. [14] We also prefer to avoid K files, except in extreme curvatures, as it tends to file up MTA particularly in the initial stage of packing, which is the most technique-sensitive stage too. (6) A lesser amount of MTA is needed and (7) there is no risk of blocking the other canals while working in one canal.

We have consistently observed that if the access cavity is flooded with MTA over all the prepared canals to be packed as suggested in other popular techniques, one has to go either very quickly in all canals to avoid blocking or one has to keep adding a considerable amount of water beyond the recommended ratio of 3:1 to maintain workability, relying more on flow. Abrupt shortening and porosities may be prone in both ways [Figure 1]i. In our case, one canal is packed at one time and is relied on thorough condensation and removal of excess moisture but less on flow. Our preliminary examination reveals a dense homogenous pack with good marginal adaptation, minimal porosities and dye leakage [Figure 1]j-l.

The disadvantage of this technique may be the need of restoring the core in two stages. In general, the disadvantages of MTA are: Retrieval difficulties (particularly in curved canals), technique sensitivity, discoloration (grey MTA), slow set, cost and larger canal preparation requirement.But, usually, for canal preparations up to an ISO 25 tip size, 6% taper is adequate for our technique. It may also be argued that "retrievability" and "hermetic seal" may often be mutually exclusive. The entire canal length sealed by MTA will minimize coronal microleakage as well, which otherwise is also a cause of failure in endodontic therapy. [15] Also, comparable healing rates were seen when retreatments with MTA obturation were compared with combined conventional retreatment and surgery. [16] In the event of surgical intervention, if required after orthograde MTA obturation, the case could be advantageously accomplished by plain resection of the root(s) without retrograde filling. Root resection of 3 mm at the 0° bevel angle removes the majority of anatomic entities and 93% of the lateral canals that are potential causes of failure. [17] Retro preparation, if needed particularly to treat isthmus, [18] can still be done through MTA. Also, from the animal studies, no significant difference in healing was observed when set MTA was compared with freshly mixed root end filling. [19]

Therefore, developing a reliable, porosity-free and easy method of orthograde MTA packing may prevent a number of needless endodontic surgeries or may help the surgical procedure to be minimally invasive. Further clinical trials and strong research evidences are still awaited.

   Conclusion Top

Posterior MTA obturation can be simplified by this canal projection method and unitary approach of packing elected canal(s).

   References Top

1.Torabinejad M, Watson TF, Pitt Ford TR. Sealing ability of mineral trioxide aggregate as a root end filling material. J Endod 1993;19:591-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Lee SJ, Monsef M, Torabinejad M. The sealing ability of a MTA for repair oflateral root perforation. J Endod 1993;19:541-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Meire M, De Moor R. Mineral trioxide aggregate repair of a perforating internal resorptions in a mandibular molar. J Endod 2008;34:220-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Ford TR, Torabinejad M, Abedi HR, Bakland LK, Kariyawasam SP. Using mineral trioxide aggregate as a pulp-capping material. J Am Dent Assoc 1996;127:1491-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Eskandarizadeh A, Shahpasandzadeh MH, Shahpasandzadeh M, Torabi M, Parirokh M. A comparative study on dental pulp response to calcium hydroxide, white and grey mineral trioxide aggregate as pulp capping agents. J Conserv Dent 2011;14:351-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.Güneº B, Aydinbelge HA. Mineral trioxide aggregate apical plug method for the treatment of nonvital immature permanent maxillary incisors: Three case reports. J Conserv Dent 2012;15:73-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Torabinejad M, Chivian N. Clinical applications of mineral trioxide aggregate. J Endod 1999;25:197-205.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Camilleri J. The chemical composition of mineral trioxide aggregate. J Conserv Dent 2008;11:141-3.  Back to cited text no. 8
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9.Torabinejad M, Smith PW, Kettering JD, Pitt Ford TR. Comparative investigation of marginaladaptation of mineral trioxide aggregate and other commonly used root end filling materials. J Endod 1995;21:295-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.O'Sullivan SM, Hartwell GR. Obturation of a retained primary mandibular second molar using MTA: A case report. J Endod 2001;27:703-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Adiga S, Ataide I, Fernandes M, Adiga S. Nonsurgical approach for strip perforation repair using mineral trioxide aggregate. J Conserv Dent 2010;13:97-101.  Back to cited text no. 11
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12.Bogen G, Kutler S. Mineral trioxide aggregate obturation: A review and case series. J Endod 2009;35:777-90.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Bhomavat AS, Manjunatha RK, Rao RN, Kidiyoor KH. Endodontic management of badly broken down teeth using the canal projection method: Two case reports. Int Endod J 2009;42:76-83.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Aminoshariae A, Hartwell GR, Moon PC. Placement of mineral trioxide aggregateusing two different techniques. J Endod 2003;29:679-82.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Saunders WP, Saunders EM. Coronal leakage as a cause of failure in root-canal therapy: A review. Endod Dent Traumatol 1994;10:105-8.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Kvist T, Reit C. Results of endodontic retreatment: A randomized clinical study comparing surgical and nonsurgical procedures. J Endod 1999;25:814-7.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Cohen S, Burns RC. Pathways of the pulp. Chapter 19, Apical resection. 8 th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2002. p. 706-13.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Weller RN, Niemczyk SP, Kim S. Incidence and position of the canal isthmus. Part 1. Mesiobuccal root of the maxillary first molar. J Endod 1995;21:380-3.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Habibi M, Ghoddusi J, Habibi A, Mohtasham N. Healing process following application of set or fresh mineral trioxide aggregate as a root-end filling material. Eur J Dent 2011;5:19-23.  Back to cited text no. 19

Correspondence Address:
Brucelee Wahengbam
Root Care Dental and Oral Health Clinic, 2/27, Vivek Khand 2, Gomtinagar, Lucknow 226 010, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0707.124159

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