Objective: Consistent reporting of publications in a given topic is essential. This systematic review aimed to identify and evaluate the reporting items in previous publications related to root canal anatomy in major Endodontic journals.
Methods: A systematic review was undertaken following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A comprehensive literature search was performed by 2 independent reviewers using a customized search strategy in major Endodontic journals through Scopus until November 2019. Studies investigating root and canal anatomy were included. The selected publications were divided into 7 categories according to the study design: micro-computed tomography (microCT) and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) experimental studies (extracted teeth), CBCT and 2D clinical studies, CBCT and 2D case reports in addition to others (i.e. staining and clearing method and root sectioning). The selected studies were evaluated according to three domains: 1) Criteria for study sample selection; 2) Criteria for methodological procedures and 3) Criteria for detection and evaluation.
Results: After the removal of duplicated and irrelevant papers, 137 articles were included. Results showed that microCT studies reported accurately the tooth type, number of teeth, classifications used, qualitative and/or quantitative analysis (if required) and the evaluation process. However, sample size calculation, calibration, and reproducibility were not reported in the majority of microCT studies. CBCT clinical studies presented information for the type of study, inclusion/exclusion criteria, number of patients, tooth type, and number of teeth. However, the majority did not report sample size calculation and calibration of examiners. Radiographic exposure descriptions and classifications used were not reported adequately in CBCT and 2D case reports. Sample size calculation, calibration and reproducibility were not reported in staining and clearing method.
Conclusion: Despite accurate presentation of certain items, there is considerable inconsistent reporting of root and canal morphology regardless of the type of study and experimental procedure used. The PROUD checklist protocol presented in this systematic review aims to provide an accurate description of root canal anatomy in experimental, clinical, and case report publications.