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An electronic apex locator is an electronic device used in endodontics to determine the position of the apical constriction and thus determine the length of the root canal space.
The traditional measurement method used by operators is based on tactile sensation which is Based on hand sensation and patient pain, dentist decides whether the measuring tool reaches the apical foramen with high subjectivity and low accuracy while the limitation of other methods in which we rely on measurement using x-ray is that apical foramen can’t be shown in the x-ray film, moreover 3D structure is seen in 2D data.
The idea of determining working length using electronic means was first investigated by Custer in the year 1918, Suzuki in 1942, who performed a study on the flow of direct current through the teeth of dogs. He inferred that the electrical resistance values between the instrument in the root canal, and the electrode placed on the oral mucous membrane displayed consistency. He speculated that this principle could be used to measure the length of the root canal. Taking this inference from Suzuki’s experiment, Sunada constructed a device that could measure the canal length using direct current. The principle used was that the electrical resistance between the mucous membrane and the periodontium remained constant at 6-kilo ohms. This value was not affected by the persons’ age, tooth shape, and size. This marked the inception of electronic apex locators in endodontic practice. But that’s just the beginning of the new age. The first electronic apex locator was “Root Canal Meter by Onuki Medical”.
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