Effectiveness of root canal filling materials and techniques for treatment of apical periodontitis: a systematic review

Chiara Pirani, Josette Camilleri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Background: Apical periodontitis (AP) is an inflammatory disease of the apical periodontium as sequelae of pulp death. It is managed by disinfection and filling of the root canal space.

Objectives: The aim of this systematic review was to investigate whether obturation techniques and materials used for root canal filling led to the management of AP.

Methods: A systematic review protocol was written following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) checklist and registered on the international prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO; CRD42021260275) including two populations, interventions, comparisons, outcomes and time (PICOT) for the research questions querying the effectiveness of obturation techniques (PICOT 1) and materials (PICOT 2) for the management of AP. Electronic searches were conducted on PubMed, ScienceDirect, Scopus and Embase search engines. Searches on International Endodontic Journal, Journal of Endodontics, Clinical Oral Investigations, Journal of Dental Research and Journal of Dentistry websites were also conducted, until May 2021. Both primary (tooth survival) and secondary outcomes were evaluated. The risk of bias was assessed by Cochrane RoB2 for the randomized and ROBINS-I for the nonrandomized trials.

Results: The search strategy identified 1652 studies, with 1600 excluded on the title and abstract screening, leaving 52 studies for full-text screening. In total, 10 studies met the inclusion criteria. The obturation technique and materials used did not affect the outcome of AP. Vertical compaction resulted in faster resolution of periapical lesions. The oral health-related quality of life of patients treated with lateral condensation exhibited poorer outcomes compared with single matched cone after 6 months of recall.

Discussion: The inclusion and exclusion criteria used for this systematic review enabled the capture of all the literature available on the effect of obturation techniques and materials on the outcome of AP. The data were heterogenous, and a number of articles investigating obturation techniques had no information on the materials and techniques used as they looked at the quality of fill.

Conclusions: Included studies did not find any difference between different procedures (PICOT 1) and materials (PICOT 2). The risk of bias was high, thus the findings should be interpreted with caution.

Registration: PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021260275.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Endodontic Journal
Early online date23 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. International Endodontic Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Endodontic Society.


  • apical periodontitis
  • gutta-percha
  • obturation materials
  • root canal filling
  • root canal sealers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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