Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

William A. Brantley

Second Advisor

Harold Gerstein

Third Advisor

Virendra B. Dhuru


Endodontic therapy encompasses a system of principles that facilitates skilled accomplishment. Exacting observations, organized experiments and ordered thinking have verified facts, phenomena and laws inherent in this specialized field. Endodontics is an art and a science.

As with all disciplines, evolution, sometimes revolutionary, has ensued. Early attempts to treat pulpally involved teeth were crude. Major advances were made with the discovery of anesthesia and asepsis in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The development of Roentgenology in 1895 further revolutionized biological and technical understanding.

This evolution survived a major set-back beginning in 1910 which can be attributed to Hunter and his Focal Infection theory. Until the 1940's the "Dark Ages" of endodontics prevailed. The ensuing renaissance in the field, due in part to advances in the biologic sciences, the formation of the American Association of Endodontists in 1943, and the contributions of men such as Coolidge and Grossman, formed the foundation for modern Endodontics.

Techniques and materials in endodontics have undergone a continual metamorphosis. Some have endured; many have been discarded. The search . for understanding continues. It is the intent of this thesis to add to knowledge in the evolution of endodontics.

Progression in a field is usually accompanied by parallel changes of existing materials and instruments. Original implements are improved continually by innovation. New instruments are created, used and tested.

An essential instrument, fundamental to endodontics, is the root canal file. Many types of files exist, each ·with its own characteristics. Several new brands, incorporating changes, have been recently introduced. Selection of any one of them should be based on sound clinical and experimental testing.

This study was designed to examine physical properties of files. While much is known about new, unused instruments, little research has been reported about the effects of use on the torsional properties of root canal files. Such information may serve as one of several criteria for determining how durable or fragile files are when utilized in clinical endodontics.


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