Separation of Nickel-Titanium Rotary and Reciprocating Instruments: A Mini-Review of Clinical Studies

The Open Dentistry Journal 25 Oct 2018 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1745017901814010864



This review aimed to evaluate clinical studies that assessed separated NiTi rotary and reciprocating instruments.

Design and Methods:

This review assessed clinical studies involving treatments performed by undergraduate students, graduate students, and endodontic specialists. This review evaluated studies using rotary instruments, reciprocating instruments, and hybrid techniques. The number of uses of the different NiTi rotary and reciprocating systems was also assessed.


The incidence of separation for rotary instruments ranged from 0% to 23%. Rotary instruments were used from 1 to 50 times depending on the instrument and tooth type. The lowest rate of incidence separation for rotary instruments was obtained by undergraduate students, using a hybrid technique. The separation incidence for reciprocating instruments ranged from 0% to 1.71%. Reciprocating instruments were mostly single-used; one study reported their use up to 3 times. Separation rate in reciprocating instruments was similar in single-use or in multiple uses 0.2%.


Separation of instruments has dropped recently and seems to be a minor problem in current Endodontics. Multiple uses of NiTi rotary instruments are a possibility without significantly increasing the risk of instrument separation. Single and multiple uses of NiTi reciprocating instruments are also associated with low incidence of separation. Attempting to remove separated instruments should be carefully evaluated.

Keywords: Nickel-titanium, Root canal treatment, Rotary, Reciprocating, Separation, Dentinal defects.
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