This study aimed to examine how downward loads influence the torque/force and shaping outcome of ProTaper NEXT (PTN) rotary instrumentation. PTN X1, X2, and X3 were used to prepare J-shaped resin canals employing a load-controlled automated instrumentation and torque/force measuring device. Depending on the torque values, the handpiece was programmed to move as follows: up and down; downward at a preset downward load of 1 N, 2 N or 3 N (Group 1N, 2N, and 3N, respectively; each n = 10); or upward. The torque/force values and instrumentation time were recorded, and the canal centering ratio was calculated. The results were analyzed using a two-way or one-way analysis of variance and the Tukey test (α = 0.05). At the apex level, Group 3N exhibited the least canal deviation among the three groups (p < 0.05). The downward force was Group 3N > Group 2N > Group 1N (p < 0.05). The upward force, representing the screw-in force, was Group 3N > Group 1N (p < 0.05). The total instrumentation time was Group 1N > Group 3N (p < 0.05). In conclusion, increasing the downward load during PTN rotary instrumentation improved the canal centering ability, reduced the instrumentation time, and increased the upward force.
Keywords: ProTaper NEXT; canal centering ratio; downward load; instrumentation time; root canal instrumentation; torque; vertical force.