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Before any restorative treatment, pulpal health must be assessed, usually by measuring the response to percussion and thermal or electrical stimulation. A diagnosis of nonvitality can be confirmed by preparing a test cavity without the administration of local anesthetic. Vitality tests, however, assess only the afferent nerve supply. Misdiagnosis can occur if the nerve supply is damaged but the blood supply is intact. Careful inspection of radiographs is

Fig. 1-26. More sophisticated techniques permit the generation of computer-assisted images of clinician-determined cross-sections. A, A CT scan. B, An MRI showing the soft tissue in greater detail. (Courtesy Dr. J. Petrie.)

therefore an essential aid in the examination of such teeth.

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