Background: After the introduction of microsurgical principles in endodontics, involving new techniques for root canal treatment, there has been a continuous search for enhancing the visualization of the surgical field. It would be interesting to know if the technical advantages for the operator brought in by magnification devices like surgical microscope, endoscope and magnifying loupes, are also associated with advantages for the patient, in terms of improvement of clinical and radiographic outcomes. Objectives: The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate and compare the effects of endodontic treatment performed with the aid of magnification devices versus endodontic treatment without magnification devices. We also aimed at comparing among them the different magnification devices used in endodontics (microscope, endoscope, magnifying loupes). Search strategy: The Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched with appropriate search strategies. Handsearching included nine dental journals. The bibliographies of relevant clinical trials and relevant articles were checked for identifying studies outside the handsearched journals. Seven manufacturers of instruments in the field of endodontics and / or endodontic surgery, as well as the authors of the identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were contacted in order to identify unpublished or ongoing RCTs. There were no language restrictions. The last electronic search was conducted on 2nd April 2009, and the last handsearching was undertaken on 31st January 2009. Selection criteria: All randomized and quasi-randomized trials comparing endodontic therapy performed with or without using one or more types of magnification device, as well as randomized and quasi-randomized trials comparing two or more magnification devices used as an adjunct to endodontic therapy were considered. Data collection and analysis: Screening of studies and data extraction were conducted independently and in duplicate. The Cochrane Collaboration statistical guidelines were to be followed for data synthesis. Main results: No trial could be included in the present review. All of the prospective trials that were identified, all dealing with endodontic surgery, had to be excluded for various reasons. Only one RCT was identified comparing three magnificators (magnifying loupes, surgical microscope, endoscope) in endodontic surgery. No RCT was found that compared the outcome of endodontic therapy using or without using a given magnification device. Authors' conclusions: No objective conclusion can be drawn from the results of this review as no article was identified in the current literature that satisfied the criteria for inclusion. It is unknown if and how the type of magnification device affects the treatment outcome, considering the high number of factors that may have a significant impact on the success of endodontic surgical procedure. This should be investigated by further longterm RCTs with large sample size. Technical advantages of magnificators have been widely reported in low evidence level studies, but they should be systematically addressed to know if there can be the clinical indication for using a given magnification device for specific clinical situations, such as for molar teeth, or if they can all be used interchangeably. Well-designed RCTs should also be performed to determine the true difference in terms of treatment success rates between using or not using a magnification device in both conventional and surgical endodontic treatment, if any exist. Plain language summary: Magnification devices for endodontic therapy. There are no data to draw a sound conclusion on the effect of adopting either a microscope, an endoscope, or magnifying loupes for better visualization in endodontic therapy, in terms of clinical outcomes. Though the use of magnification devices has often been associated with technical advantages for the operator and with an improved management of the root canal due to a better visualization of the operative field, it still has to be demonstrated that their use may lead to an improved treatment success rate. More long-term well-designed randomized trials with a large sample size are urgently needed to address the issues of the present review.
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