Successful endodontic treatment is predicated on obtaining a pretreatment pulpal and periradicular diagnosis. The pretreatment pulpal and periradicular diagnosis of a tooth begins with a review of the patient’s medical and dental history. Pretreatment also includes taking a patient’s blood pressure, pulse, and temperature (if indicated). If a patient presents in pain, the etiology of the pain must be identified before any emergency dental treatment is performed. The first step in determining this etiology is listening to the patient’s perception of the problem, followed by a dentist’s objective clinical testing to reproduce the patient’s subjective pain symptoms.
If a patient presents with an asymptomatic dental condition, as often occurs in restorative dentistry, the same objective tests described below must be completed to properly make a pretreatment pulpal and periradicular diagnosis. To arrive at a proper pretreatment pulpal and periradicular diagnosis, clinicians may be uncertain of which test to perform. The following are the five objective clinical tests that a dentist must use to determine the pulpal and periradicular diagnosis.