Tools of the trade: Dentaport ZX apex locator

The Dentaport ZX apex locator

by Dr John Barbat, North Shore Endodontic Services, Chatswood, NSW


We’ve always bought and used Morita ZX apex locators and the Dentaport ZX that we are currently using is a couple of years old. Apex locators are now manufactured by a lot of different companies and there are many models on the market. I’m sure they’re all good instruments, however, I prefer the Dentaport ZX because of its reliability and long-standing track record.


What’s good about it

Prior to the early ’90s, electronic apex locators were notoriously unreliable. They used a single current that would often complete the electronic circuit when the file wasn’t at the apex. The ZX system eliminates this electronic variability by using two currents of different wave frequencies simultaneously. The relationship between these two currents changes as the biologic constriction is approached.

There’s a plethora of research into this particular instrument. It’s a favourite of endodontic master’s students to investigate and write their thesis. Most of the research shows that this apex locator is highly accurate to within 0.5 and 1mm of the biologic constriction of the tooth.

It improves efficiency, saves time and reduces patient radiation. The locator gives a very accurate length measurement that is confirmed with an X-ray. This means you know where you are before taking the X-ray. Without the locator reading, it’s highly likely that a succession of X-rays would be needed to achieve the same result.


What’s not so good

There is a degree of technique sensitivity when using this instrument. Care must be taken that short circuits aren’t created by metal restorations. Irrigants used in canals are electrolytic, so if there is any leakage it can also create false readings. However, any errors are pretty obvious and these can usually be overcome.


Where did you get it

Henry Schein Halas.


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