Tips to efficiently use an Apex locator

An apex locator is an electronic equipment which is used in an endodontic procedure to locate the apical constriction and then gauge the length of the root canal space. The tip of the root is resistant to electrical current. It is measured by a pair of electrodes that are hooked to the lip of the patient and fastened to an endodontic file. This device is believed to provide more accurate results for locating the position of the apical foramen when compared to the process of radiology.

Tips to efficiently use an Apex locator

There are specific steps which can be taken to use the device efficiently. These are as follows:

  • Ensure that the root canals are dry and bereft of any sodium hypochlorite. This will result in more precise readings from the device
  • Using a bigger endodontic file will enable the device to give a more steady reading. If the canal is big and the file used is small, the results from both, the file and the apex locator, will be inaccurate
  • When using the device, ensure that the endodontic file is put away from the sides of the tooth, any crowns, and metal fillings. If the machine still shows some discrepancy, it indicates that the device is still in contact with some metal
  • Always keep the device charged. Change the batteries from time to time. If the device is not appropriately charged during use, it can give inaccurate results

Different variants of apex locator have varying ways of providing the correct result. The aim of the dentists must be to get the best possible result from the device. If they don’t, then the procedure may fail and can be detrimental for the patient. During endodontic procedures, a millimeter is as good as a mile. Therefore, dentists must not take any shortcuts while treating their patients. When the machine reads Zero-Zero (0.0), it means that it has measured the actual length of the root canal after which the dentist can proceed with the cleaning and shaping procedure

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