Background: This study evaluated variations in root canal configuration in the maxillary permanent molars of Taiwanese patients by analyzing patients' cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) images. Comparisons were made among these configurations and those previously reported. This information may serve as a basis for improving the success rate of endodontic treatment. Methods: The root canal systems of 114 Taiwanese patients with bilateral maxillary first or second molars were examined using CBCT images. The number of roots, canals per root, and additional mesiobuccal (MB) canals, as well as the canal configuration were enumerated and recorded. Results: Of the 196 maxillary first molars examined, three (1.5%) had a single root, two (1.0%) had two roots, and 191 (97.5%) had three separate roots. Out of all first molar roots examined, 44% of mesiobuccal (MB) roots had a single canal and the remainder had a second MB (MB2) canal. Of the 212 maxillary second molars examined, 16 (7.1%) had a single root, 51 (24.2%) had two roots, 143 (67.8%) had three roots, and two (0.9%) had four separate roots. For the MB roots, 92.3% of three-rooted maxillary second molars had a single canal and the remainder had an MB2 canal. In all three-rooted maxillary first and second molars, each of the distal and palatal roots had one canal. Conclusions: The root canal configurations of the MB roots of maxillary molars were more varied than those of the distobuccal and palatal roots, and the root canal configurations of maxillary second molars were more varied than those of the first molars. These findings demonstrate CBCT as a useful clinical tool for endodontic diagnosis and treatment planning.
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