Aim: To investigate whether there is a racial difference in canal length between the Asians and Caucasians. Methodology: Five hundred and fifteen Asian patients who had received root canal treatment at the Yonsei University Hospital, Korea between 1995 and May 2001 and 324 Caucasoid patients who had received root canal treatment at the Graduate Endodontic Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania, US were selected. The clinical endodontic procedures at both clinics were similar. An electronic apex locator (Root-ZX™: J. Morita Co., Kyoto, Japan) was used to measure the initial working lengths and this was verified by conventional radiography. The measurements from both Asian and Caucasian teeth were compared using a Student's t-test and a Mann-Whitney test. Results: The mean difference in canal length of pooled teeth between the Asian and Caucasian teeth was 1.2 mm, with a range from 0 to 2.5 mm. The greatest difference was in the distobuccal canal (2.5 mm) of maxillary first molar teeth followed by the mesiolingual canal (2.3 mm) of mandibular second molar, the buccal canal (2.1 mm) of the maxillary second premolar, the maxillary first molar and the mandibular second molar. Conclusion: Tooth lengths in Asians were shorter than Caucasians.
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