The aim is to review and discuss the etiology, incidence, anatomic features, classification, diagnosis and management of the C-shaped canal configuration. C-shaped canal configuration is a variation that has a racial predilection and is commonly seen in mandibular second molars. The intricacies present in this variation of canal morphology can pose a challenge to the clinician during negotiation, debridement and obturation. Manual and electronic searches of literature were performed from 1979 to 2012, in Pub Med by crossing the keywords: C-shaped canals, mandibular second molar, mandibular first premolar, root canal morphology. Knowledge of the C-shaped canal configuration is essential to achieve success in endodontic therapy. Radiographic and clinical diagnoses can aid in identification and negotiation of the fan-shaped areas and intricacies of the C-shaped anatomy. Effective management of this anomalous canal configuration can be achieved with rotary and hand instrumentation assisted with sonics and ultrasonics. Modifications in the obturation techniques will ensure a 3-dimensional fill of the canal system and chamber retained restorations like amalgam or composites, serve as satisfactory post endodontic restorations.
Keywords: C-shaped canals; mandibular second molar; root canal configuration.