The Effect of Access Cavity Designs and Sizes of Root Canal Preparations on the Biomechanical Behavior of an Endodontically Treated Mandibular First Molar: A Finite Element Analysis

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This study aimed to compare the biomechanical properties of a mandibular first molar with different endodontic cavity designs and increasing sizes of root canal preparations using finite element analysis (FEA).


The experimental finite element models were designed with 3 different endodontic access cavities and 2 sizes of canal preparations: traditional access cavity, conservative access cavity, and truss access cavity and #30/.04 and #40/.04 of root canal preparations. Vertical and oblique loads were applied with a 250-N static force to simulate masticatory forces. Mathematical analysis was performed to evaluate the stress distribution patterns. Maximum von Mises (VM) stresses were assessed at the occlusal surface; cervical line; and 1 , 3, 5, and 7 mm from the root apices.


Decreasing the size of the access cavity was associated with a higher magnitude of cervical stresses. The magnitude of VM stresses was maximum at the 7-mm level and was minimum at the 1-mm level from the root apex. Increasing the size of the access cavity was associated with the transmission of stresses to a further apical direction regardless of the extent of root canal enlargement. The root canal enlargement from #30 to #40 increased radicular VM stresses within all models.


Within the limitations of this study, conservative and truss access designs preserved a significant volume of tooth structure. The extent of root canal enlargement should be as small as practical without jeopardizing the biologic objectives of root canal treatment.