Dynamic Torsional Resistance of Nickel-Titanium Rotary Instruments

J Endod. 2010 Jul;36(7):1200-4. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2010.02.016. Epub 2010 Mar 19.


Introduction: The cyclic fatigue of nickel-titanium (NiTi) rotary instruments has been studied extensively, but there is little information available on torsional fracture. Moreover, a clinical repeated locking effect was not considered in previous studies that evaluated torsional resistance of NiTi instruments. Thus, this study was aimed to compare the repetitive torsional resistance of various NiTi instruments with clinical relevance.

Materials and methods: Five brands of NiTi rotary instruments were selected: Twisted File (TF; SybronEndo, Orange, CA) and RaCe systems (FKG Dentaire, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland), both with an equilateral triangular cross-section, and the ProTaper (Dentsply Maillefer, Ballaignes, Switzerland), Helix (DiaDent, Chongju, Korea), and FlexMaster (VDW, Munchen, Germany), which had a convex triangular cross-section. Five millimeters of the tip of each file was embedded in composite resin block, and uniform torsional stresses (300 rpm, 1.0 N.cm) were applied repetitively by an endodontic motor with auto-stop mode until the file succumbed to torsional failure. The number of load applications leading to fracture was recorded. All fracture surfaces were examined under the SEM. Results were analyzed nonparametrically with alpha = 0.05.

Results: Under the mode of load applications in this study, TF had the lowest and FlexMaster the highest torsional resistance among the groups (p < 0.05). Scanning electron microscopy examination revealed a typical pattern of torsional fracture for TF, RaCe, and ProTaper that was characterized by circular abrasion marks and skewed dimples near the center of rotation. In addition to these marks, Helix and FlexMaster presented a rough, torn-off appearance.

Conclusion: It was concluded that files of same cross-sectional design may exhibit different resistance to fracture probably as a result of the manufacturing process.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Dental Alloys / chemistry*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nickel / chemistry*
  • Root Canal Preparation / instrumentation*
  • Rotation
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium / chemistry*
  • Torsion, Mechanical


  • Dental Alloys
  • titanium nickelide
  • Nickel
  • Titanium