It appears to be important to avoid thermal injury to the periodontal ligament when using heated gutta-percha techniques such as “System B.” An in vitro model was developed, consisting of an extracted human tooth rooted in an artificial periodontal ligament (PDL) and alveolar socket, which allowed us to measure the temperature transferred to the root surface. The teeth were instrumented and subsequently embedded in alginate to simulate the PDL. Medium gutta-percha points were fit, sealer was applied, and a fine Buchanan plugger was used for condensation. Temperature measurements were taken simultaneously at the apex and 5 mm from the apex during obturation with two fine gauge thermocouples connected to a digital thermometer. The average temperature increase was ∼1°C at the apex and ∼2°C at the 5 mm mark. The resulting temperature increases appear to be lower than previously reported by other investigators (Hardie, 1986, 1987; Barkhordar et al., 1990; Weller et al., 1991; Lee et al., 1998), who did not allow for the heat disseminating effect of the PDL.
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