Dens invaginatus or dens in dente is a developmental dental anomaly resulting from an invagination of the enamel organ into the dental papilla during odontogenesis. Radiographically, it is usually seen as a radiolucent invagination surrounded by a radiopaque area (enamel) limited to the tooth crown or extending into the root. Because the invagination is opened to the oral cavity, it can retain saliva, food remnants, and bacteria. In conditions where the enamel lining of the invagination is naturally absent or lost because of caries, bacterial cells and products can diffuse from the invagination through the dentin tubules to reach the pulp and cause disease. Management of teeth with dens invaginatus includes preventive sealing or filling of the invagination, or if the pulp is affected, therapeutic options include vital pulp therapy, nonsurgical root canal treatment, apexification or regenerative endodontic procedures, periradicular surgery, intentional replantation, or extraction. It is recommended that the invagination be always approached, regardless of the type of dens invaginatus. The root canal should be treated whenever the pulp is irreversibly inflamed or necrotic. Endodontic management of teeth with dens invaginatus is often tricky because of its anatomic complexity, and special and customized strategies should be devised. This review discusses the endodontic implications of this anomaly and the current treatment recommendations based on anatomic, pathological, and technologic considerations.
Keywords: Apical periodontitis; dens invaginatus; root canal infection; root canal treatment.
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