Radiographic assessment of endodontic accidents at a Nigerian tertiary health institution: A one-year retrospective study


  • Ibhawoh LO
  • Enyinnaya NS
  • Enabulele JE



Endodontics, procedural errors, iatrogenic accidents


Introduction: Dental treatment can produce iatrogenic injury to the tooth with endodontic procedural errors occurring during the various stages of endodontic treatment. This study determined the prevalence and pattern of endodontic accidents in clinical practice at a tertiary health center in Nigeria.

Methodology: This was a retrospective study of teeth treated with conventional hand-held file systems. Digital peri-apical working length, pre-obturation and post obturation radiographic images of teeth which received root canal treatment, were assessed for the presence or absence of errors. All errors present were recorded and data analysis was done using IBM SPSS version 22.0.

Results: The prevalence of procedural errors was 31.3% with ledges being the most prevalent error followed by transportation while gouging was the least encountered error. Majority (83.8%) of the errors occurred during root canal instrumentation. A higher proportion of molars had errors compared to the other types of teeth with the prevalence of errors increasing from incisors to premolars and then to molar teeth. The mandibular molars were found to be most frequently involved in procedural errors.

Conclusion: The prevalence of procedural errors seems high. Practitioners should show greater care during the canal preparation stage and to maintain the accuracy of the working length throughout the procedure, as errors which occur during canal preparation accounted for the vast majority of errors seen in this study. Special care should be taken when working on molars, which had a significantly higher error rate when compared to anterior teeth or premolars.