Objectives: This prospective study was conducted to determine whether there is any significant difference in the incidence of postobturation pain after single- and multiple-visit root canal treatment (RCT).
Methods: The frequency of postobturation pain was recorded and evaluated over an observation period of 30 days in 291 of 300 consecutive patients receiving RCT. The patients were assigned randomly and consecutively into either single- or multiple-visit groups. The canals of all teeth were prepared and filled by a single operator using the step-back and lateral condensation techniques. The data were analysed statistically to determine the relationship, if any, between the pain experienced and pulpal vitality, tooth type, pre-operative pain, and the sex and age of the patient.
Results: Nine of the 300 patients were excluded from the analysis as they failed to attend for postoperative reviews. A significantly higher incidence (P < 0.01) of postobturation pain was found in the multiple-visit group (38%) than in the single-visit group (27%) within 24 h of obturation. The incidence of pain decreased thereafter, with all patients being sysmptom free at the end of the observation period. No significant correlation was found between postobturation pain and any other factor, with the exception that teeth which had nonvital pulp prior to treatment were associated with a significantly greater (P < 0.005) incidence of postobutration pain.
Conclusions: Pain was significantly higher in the multiple-visit RCT group and significantly associated with the treatment of the nonvital pulp.