Sixty mandibular premolars with large, straight canals and 60 nonjoining narrow, curved canals from mesial mandibular molar roots were obturated with gutta-percha via 1 of 3 methods: lateral condensation with sealer, concentric condensation with sealer, or concentric condensation without sealer. The sealer used was a zinc oxide-eugenol without radiopacifiers. The premolar teeth were radiographed next to a step wedge, both before and after obturation. All teeth were exposed to India ink as a test for linear dye leakage, then cleared, and the leakage recorded. The pre- and postobturation radiographs were scanned at 2 and 6 mm from the apex using a Joyce-Loebel microdensitometer to establish the radiographic density of the obturation material, and a density ratio for the obturation was calculated using the cross-sectional diameter of the obturating material. The incidence of gutta-percha extrusion and Micro-Flow Compactor breakage was recorded. Two-way analysis of variance for linear dye leakage revealed no significant differences between the lateral and concentric condensation groups when sealer was used (p > 0.05). The concentric condensation without sealer groups exhibited significantly greater leakage (p < 0.00001) than the other groups, showing the importance of using sealers. One-way analysis of variance found no significant differences in radiographic density ratios between groups at 2 mm (p > 0.05) or 6 mm from the apex (p > 0.05). The incidence of extrusion was not significant, but a high rate of #30 condensor breakage was found.
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