Complete Obturation-Cold Lateral Condensation vs. Thermoplastic Techniques: A Systematic Review of Micro-CT Studies

Materials (Basel). 2021 Jul 18;14(14):4013. doi: 10.3390/ma14144013.


To prevent re-infection and provide a hermetic seal of the root canal system, an endodontist must aim to produce a void-free obturation. This review aimed to compare the completeness of root canal obturation between the two most prevalent methods-cold lateral condensation and warm gutta-percha techniques-using micro-CT (PROSPERO reg no. 249815).

Materials and methods: A search of Scopus, Embase, PubMed (Medline via PubMed), and Web of Science databases was done without any time restriction according to the PRISMA protocol. Articles that compared both techniques and were published in English were included. Data was extracted and the risk of bias was assessed using an adapted tool based on previous studies.

Results: A total of 141 studies were identified by the search. Following the screening and selection of articles, 9 studies were included for review. Data was extracted manually and tabulated. Most studies had a moderate risk of bias. None determined operator skill in both methods before comparison. The data extracted from the included studies suggests that both techniques produce voids in the obturation. The thermoplasticized gutta-percha techniques may result in fewer voids compared to cold lateral condensation.

Conclusion: Considering the limitations of the included studies, it was concluded that neither technique could completely obturate the root canal. Thermoplasticized gutta-percha techniques showed better outcomes despite a possible learning bias in favor of cold lateral condensation. Establishing operator skills before comparison may help reduce this bias.

Keywords: cold lateral condensation; micro-CT; obturation; root canal filling; thermoplasticized gutta-percha.

Publication types

  • Review