Do procedural errors cause endodontic treatment failure?

Louis M. Lin, Paul A. Rosenberg, Jarshen Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. This article reviews the effect of endodontic procedural errors, such as underfilling, overfilling, root perforations and separated instruments, on the outcome of endodontic therapy. Types of Studies Reviewed. Filling the root canal more than 2 millimeters from the radiographic apex (underfilling) or beyond the radiographic apex (overfilling), perforations of the root canal system and instrument separation are possible complications of endodontic therapy. Although these procedural errors may have different causes, they all may affect the outcome of treatment. Results. Endodontic procedural errors are not the direct cause of treatment failure; rather, the presence of pathogens in the incompletely treated or untreated root canal system is the primary cause of periradicular pathosis. Procedural errors typically are due to several factors. Among them is a lack of understanding of the root canal anatomy, the principles of mechanical instrumentation and tissue wound healing. Clinical Implications. Procedural errors impede endodontic therapy, thus increasing the risk of treatment failure, especially in teeth with necrotic pulps and periradicular lesions. However, procedural errors often are preventable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Bacteria
  • Endodontic procedural errors
  • Treatment outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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