Purpose: This study used cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) to characterize mandibular molar root and canal morphology and its variability in Belgian and Chilean population samples. Materials and Methods: We analyzed the CBCT images of 515 mandibular molars (257 from Belgium and 258 from Chile). Molars meeting the inclusion criteria were analyzed to determine (1) the number of roots; (2) the root canal configuration; (3) the presence of a curved canal in the cross-sectional image of the distal root in the mandibular first molar and (4) the presence of a C-shaped canal in the second mandibular molar. A descriptive analysis was performed. The association between national origin and the presence of a curved or C-shaped canal was evaluated using the chi-squared test. Results: The most common configurations in the mesial root of both molars were type V and type III. In the distal root, type I canal configuration was the most common. Curvature in the cross-sectional image was found in 25% of the distal canals of the mandibular first molars in the Belgian population, compared to 11% in the Chilean population. The prevalence of C-shaped canals was 10% or less in both populations. Conclusion: In cases of unclear or complex root and canal morphology in the mandibular molars, CBCT imaging might assist endodontic specialists in making an accurate diagnosis and in treatment planning.
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© 2015 by Korean Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology.