To determine the incidence of asymptomatic pulp necrosis following crown preparation as well as the positive predictive value of the electric pulp testing.
A total of 120 teeth with healthy pulps scheduled to receive fixed crowns (experimental teeth) were included. Teeth were divided into 2 groups according to the preoperative crown condition (intact teeth and teeth with preoperative caries, restorations or crowns) and into 4 groups according to tooth type (maxillary anterior teeth, maxillary posterior teeth, mandibular anterior teeth and mandibular posterior teeth). Experimental and control teeth were submitted to electric pulp testing on 3 different sessions: before treatment commencement (stage 0), at the impression making session (stage 1), and just before the final cementation of the crown (stage 2). Teeth that were considered to contain necrotic pulps were submitted to root canal treatment. Upon access, absence of bleeding was considered as a confirmation of pulp necrosis. Data were analyzed using bivariate (chi-square) and multivariate analysis (logistic regression). All reported probability values (p-values) were based on two-sided tests and compared to a significance level of 5%.
The overall incidence of pulp necrosis was 9%. Intact teeth had a significantly lower incidence of pulp necrosis (5%) compared with preoperatively structurally compromised teeth (13%) [(OR: 9.113, p=0.035)]. No significant differences were found among the 4 groups with regard to tooth type (p=0.923). The positive predictive value of the electric pulp testing was 1.00.
The incidence of asymptomatic pulp necrosis of teeth following crown preparation is noteworthy. The presence of preoperative caries, restorations or crowns of experimental teeth correlated with a significantly higher incidence of pulp necrosis. Electric pulp testing remains a useful diagnostic instrument for pulp condition during clinical examination.