Accurate knowledge of dental root morphology is a key to success in endodontic therapies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the different variations of the root and apical morphology in upper and lower first molars of a modern Mayan population. Photomicrographs were taken from 80 upper and lower first molars, presented in cross sections at 1 and 2.5 mm from the apical vertex, as well as from the 1/3, 1⁄2, 2/3 portions of the root length and at the cementoenamel junction. The number of roots, canal and Vertucci`s configuration was determined, as well as the shape and measurements of the major and minor diameters at 1 mm from the apex. In this study 90 % of upper first molars reported the presence of 3 roots and 10 % showed 2, while the total lower first molars (100 %) reported 2 roots. In general, Vertucci`s Type II prevailed in the mesial roots while Type I was prevalent in the distal and palatal ones. In the 1 mm cut of the apical vertex, the round shape was the most prevalent in the canal of the first upper molars (44.5 %), followed by irregular (34.1 %) and oval (21.4 %); while in the first lower molars the most prevalent one was irregular (54.5 %), followed by round (23.9 %) and oval (21.6 %). The major and minor diameters of the mesial canals at 1 mm apical recorded 0.46 and 0.23 mm and 0.64 and 0.25 mm in upper and lower molars respectively. The frequency of MB2 in upper first molars was 77.8 %. The canals with greater variability were the mesial ones. Low frequency of oval canals was observed. The largest diameters of the mesial canal in gene- ral were greater than 0.45 mm.
KEY WORDS: Root anatomy; Root canal; First molar; Apical diameter.