Remember the time when you had to place the initial apical file into the root canal and take an x-ray to verify the position of the tip of the file in relation to the apical constriction? Of course, you do! Thanks to the expertise of Dr. Grossman, the radiographic method of working length determination was an extensively used technique in endodontic therapy. However, this technique posed a few disadvantages such as superimposition, projection errors, inaccuracy when dealing with buccal and lingually curved canals and increased time consumption. The advent of electronic apex locators changed the problems faced by dentists and allowed accurate location of the root apex with minimal time consumption.
Let’s take a look at how it all started!
The Age of Electronic Apex Locators:
While the idea of determining working length using by electronic means was first investigated by Custer in the year 1918, Suzuki in 1942, performed a study on the flow of direct current through the teeth of dogs. He inferred that the electrical resistance values between the instrument in the root canal, and the electrode placed on the oral mucous membrane displayed consistency. He speculated that this principle could be used to measure the length of the root canal. Taking this inference from Suzuki’s experiment, Sunada constructed a device which could measure the canal length using direct current. The principle used was that the electrical resistance between the mucous membrane and the periodontium remained constant at 6-kilo ohms. This value was not affected by the persons’ age, tooth shape and size. This marked the inception of electronic apex locators in endodontic practice.
But that’s just the beginning of the new age. Take a look at this picture comparing the “Root Canal Meter by Onuki Medical” from the past and the latest apex locator of the 21st century.
Quite a difference right!
Here are the top 6 best-selling apex locators we have shortlisted to make your endodontic practice more efficient:
Presented as a compact version of the celebrated “Root ZX II” the Root ZX Mini apex locator by Morita is one of the most widely used apex locators in the dental profession. The unit is powered by the proven Root ZX Apex Location Technology. It has an accuracy rate of 97.5%. The product has a Clear Liquid Crystal LCD display that offers high contrast. 3 programmable memory settings are possible with the Root ZX mini. The device also offers great features such as Automatic Calibration, Shock Resistance, and Power Off Function. 3 programmable memory settings are possible with the Root ZX mini.
The distinctive feature of this device is the compact and lightweight design. It measures just over 4”x 2⅓ and weighs about 110g. The compact size and stability-oriented design ensure excellent flexibility during procedures. Root ZX Mini can be moved easily to work in any quadrant of the mouth.
The Root ZX Mini is available in the following colour variants:
Apex ID by Kerr is a compact and modern electronic apex locator with unique functions. The apex locator is designed for accuracy in almost any canal condition. The values displayed are not affected by the presence of blood, EDTA, NaOCl, chlorhexidine, saline or electrolytes.
The Apex ID Apex Locator offers customization of the “zero” point based on the initial clinical judgment of the clinician. The continuous calibration feature allows real-time assessment of the position of the file in the root canal.
Rootor by Meta Biomed is an electronic apex locator using the latest multiple frequency technology for detecting the file position inside the root canal. This compact apex locator has a stylish and ergonomic design. Root canal conditions (dry, bleeding, saline, NaOCl, chlorhexidine etc) do not hinder the accuracy of the device.
The device comes with an optional PC software CD, for installation of computer monitoring features and the patient data management system.
This lightweight apex locator which has a base of 6cm in distance is among the top devices that accurately measure the working length. iPex II apex locator by NSK works on the multiple frequency measuring technology. The large high contrast screen has a 3 colour LCD panel and offers excellent readability to the clinician.
The high precision of the apex locator is generated by using SmartLogic. The device ensures continuous operation of 60 hours with very minimal fluctuations. The audible alarm sounds aid the clinician in carrying out safe and efficient endodontic treatment.
Since 1993, Ionyx has been dedicated to the design and manufacture of specialized endodontic devices. Locapex 5 is a simple yet robust machine, that is guaranteed to work even if you drop it from your workbench (manufacturers’ claim).
Locapex 5 has a signal filtering system which enables the apex locator to eliminate false information as the file progresses down the root canal. The device can be operated by pressing a single button that starts it up. The instantaneous measurement enables the clinician to evaluate the position of the file as soon as it comes in contact with the touch tip or the file grip.
Dpex III Gold by Guilin Woodpecker is one of the most commonly used apex locators in the country. The automatically calibrating device ensures accurate measurements. The apex locator has a rechargeable battery eliminating the need for constant replacement of the batteries. The accuracy of the device has been measured to be 97.71%.
The device sports a clear bright LCD display that offers a clear image and different colours that indicate the position of the file inside the root canal. The audible alarms incorporated into the website gives the operator warnings when the file reaches the apical foramen and when the file is beyond the apex. All these features along with the attractive price point make the Woodpecker Dpex III Gold a valuable purchase for the clinician.
Having a good quality apex locator can be a huge asset to your dental practice. Radiographs can be used to reconfirm the working length that you have estimated using the apex locator, but using them as the primary option of working length determination might not be a good idea. Especially, in the fast paced world that we live in, with patients hoping to have shorter treatment times, spending lesser time in procedures and delivering equal or better results by embracing the use of technology can drastically augment your efficiency. Regarding the purchase of an apex locator, we have listed a few guidelines that are aimed to make your decision easier. Read our blog on How To Buy An Apex Locator to know more.