Apex Locator

apex locator

What is an apex locator?

An apex locator is an electronic device used during root canal treatments to detect canal length. The canal length or working length is measured by localizing the apical canal constriction.

Most electronic apex locators have two clips, one that connects to an endodontic file inserted in the canal, and another that is placed in the patient's mouth, thus creating an electrical circuit. Given that the canal walls are insulators, the electronic circuit won't be completed until the endodontic file reaches the apical foramen where there is a conductive material (tissues and fluid). Once the circuit is completed (the file tip has reached the apical constriction) the device will beep, flash a light, or send a digital readout depending on the device type.

Establishing the correct working length is important to ensure that endodontic procedures are confined to the root canal system, hence avoiding under- or over-preparation or filling of canals.

Major manufacturers of apex locators include Beyes Dental, Morita, and Parkell.

What are the parts of an apex locator?

Apex locators include the following parts:

  • Probe cord
  • File holder
  • Contrary electrode
  • Tester
  • Long file holder

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