Since there are no reviews of the literature on this theme, the aim of this narrative review is to summarize the metallurgical tests used in endodontics, pointing out their functional use and their pros and cons and giving readers a user-friendly guide to serve as an orientation aid in the plethora of metallurgical tests. With this purpose, a literature search for articles published between January 2001 and December 2021 was conducted, using the electronic database PubMed to collect all published articles regarding the metallurgical tests used in endodontics for the evaluation of NiTi rotary instruments. The search was conducted using the following keywords: "metallurgy", "differential scanning calorimetry" (DSC), "X-ray diffraction" (XRD), "atomic force microscopy" (AFM), "energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy" (EDS), "focused ion beam analysis" (FIB) and "Auger electron spectroscopy" (AES) combined with the term "endodontics" or "NiTi rotary instruments". Considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria, of the 248 articles found, only 81 were included in the narrative review. According to the results, more than 50% of the selected articles were published in one of the two most relevant journals in endodontics: International Endodontic Journal (22.2%) and Journal of Endodontics (29.6%). The most popular metallurgical test was DSC, with 43 related articles, followed by EDS (33 articles), AFM (22 articles) and XRD (21 articles). Few studies were conducted using other tests such as FIB (2 articles), micro-Raman spectroscopy (4 articles), metallographic analysis (7 articles) and Auger electron spectroscopy (2 articles).
Keywords: endodontic rotary instruments; endodontics; metallurgy; nickel–titanium alloy; root canal treatment.