The aim of this study was to compare the bacterial community profiles of the root canal microbiota associated with chronic apical periodontitis from Brazilian and Norwegian patients using the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and the ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (RISA) approaches. DNA extracted from root canal samples was subjected to polymerase chain reaction using primers appropriate for further DGGE or RISA analysis. The resulting banding patterns representative of the bacterial community structures in samples from the two locations were compared. DGGE and RISA fingerprints showed a great interindividual variability in the bacterial community profiles, irrespective of the geographic location of the patient. However, similarities among the bacterial community DGGE profiles revealed the existence of a geography-related pattern. © 2008 American Association of Endodontists.