Cold lateral compaction of gutta-percha continues to be the gold standard root canal filling technique and is the method most often used in routine endodontic practice (Slaus and Bottenberg, 2002). Because about 50% of gutta-percha points are thinner than the ISO norm (Schäfer and Göhring, 1993), the actual diameter of the master point should be checked with a measurement gauge (Fig. 29.1). Following mechanical root canal preparation using highly tapered instruments, a master point of corresponding taper should be used to simplify the root canal filling procedure and to increase the volume proportion of gutta-percha in the filling (Hembrough et al., 2002; Gordon et al., 2005).
A precisely fitted master point should extend to the instrumented working length and exhibit slight friction in the apical portion of the canal; the latter can be clinically demonstrated by slight resistance (tug back) when removing the master point from the canal (Wesselink, 1995).
Finger spreaders instead of hand spreaders should be used for compaction, as this provides better sealing (Simons et al., 1991) and at the same time reduces the danger of vertical root fracture (Lertchirakarn et al., 1999).
As a general rule, nickel-titanium (NiTi) finger spreaders are preferable to stainless-steel instruments because they produce less tension and can be inserted deeper into curved canals (Wilson and Baumgartner, 2003; Gharai et al., 2005). Only the tip of the master point is coated with a thin layer/>