Allowing technology to help you navigate inevitable challenges

Dr. James A. Smith, who already simplifies the root canal process in his office with GentleWave, has now added Clean Flow Technology. Find out how it has improved the process even more.

Necrotic case — Pretreatment (left) and post GentleWave treatment (right)

Dr. James A. Smith, Jr. discusses simplifying the root canal process with the GentleWave® Procedure

We all know that endodontics is not simple.

One of the most significant challenges that endodontists face is canals that cannot be located within the root canal system or are inaccessible through traditional instruments. In fact, I’d be confident in saying that this is the top challenge within the specialty.

Another difficulty is knowing for certain when a root canal system is fully cleaned and disinfected.

And on top of these clinical challenges, many of our patients are afraid of undergoing root canal treatment. This is understandable, as many people fear the unknown, but it’s our job as endodontists to help our patients overcome any fears or anxiety.

Knowledge is power

According to a consumer survey from the dental technology company Sonendo®, 77% of Americans would rather be forced to sleep at the airport after a cancelled flight than undergo a root canal procedure. This underscores the widespread fear and anxiety surrounding traditional treatment.

I chalk this up to patients not fully understanding what a root canal procedure is or having prior misconceptions about intense pain and a slow healing process.

As endodontists, the more we can explain to our patients about what’s really going on, the better. This includes before the procedure with a thorough consultation and on the day of treatment. I suggest verbally walking patients through what you’re going to do throughout the process. This way, the patient is armed with information and knows what to expect.

“In my practice, my partner and I use the GentleWave® System with CleanFlow™ Technology to simplify and modernize the root canal procedure process.”

Technology is your friend

While I am confident in my professional ability and skill, I am not hesitant to use technology to help me successfully navigate challenges that arise.

In my practice, my partner and I use the GentleWave® System with CleanFlow™ Technology to simplify and modernize the root canal procedure process. I adopted the GentleWave System nearly 7 years ago, and since then, it has proven its worth time and time again.

It’s important to note that Sonendo, the developer of the GentleWave System, is continuously gathering feedback from clinicians and optimizing its technology. This is evident in its enhanced CleanFlow Procedure Instrument, which is now indicated for use on anterior teeth and comes with a new matrix design.

I’ve been using the enhanced CleanFlow Procedure Instrument exclusively for all case types for several months. Some of the benefits are listed below:

  • It provides a streamlined workflow.
  • It offers superior tissue dissolution.
  • The anterior indication allows me to use one procedure instrument for every case type, simplifying my inventory needs.
  • The new matrix cradles the instrument which provides procedural consistency.

With the enhanced CleanFlow Procedure Instrument, I am able to shave about 5 to 7 minutes off each root canal procedure I perform, as compared to the prior procedure instrument.

Overcoming skepticism

CleanFlow Technology enables the inside of the tooth to be cleaned from the outside. When I first tried it, I was a bit skeptical that a cleaning action generated outside the tooth could be as effective as when the cleaning action is produced in the pulp chamber. Now, I am highly confident in it.

Improved patient experience

As endodontists, we know that patients don’t want to have to come to our offices for treatment more than once. With the GentleWave System, single-visit procedures are more likely than ever before. Additionally, most of my patients have little to no postoperative issues with the GentleWave System with CleanFlow Technology. Not only is this incredible for my patients, but it also frees up time and resources for my staff.

And believe it or not, the white noise generated by the GentleWave System with CleanFlow Technology has even led a few of my patients to fall asleep during the procedure.

Locally, word has spread about how I use this technology in my office. Some patients specifically ask for it, and referring general dentists know about it too, touting that it can offer a modernized patient experience.

Advice for colleagues

If you’re a GentleWave System user, the enhanced CleanFlow Procedure Instrument is a win for practitioners and our patients.

For those who are not currently using the GentleWave System, I encourage you to schedule a test drive here: If you are open to it, the GentleWave System can replace much of the traditional root canal procedure process. It doesn’t add to the process; rather, it simplifies it.

I want to help empower my fellow endodontists to stop “knocking their heads against a wall” when faced with inevitable challenges. Instead, leverage innovative technology to help you navigate them smoothly.


This article was provided by Sonendo®

Read what another clinician, Dr. Scott Hetz, thinks about the healing and long-term results of GentleWave here:

James A. Smith, Jr., DMD, received his dental degree in 1980 from The University of Alabama School of Dentistry and completed his endodontic residency there in 1982. He has been practicing for over 41 years and is an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Endodontics at the University of Alabama in the Birmingham School of Dentistry. Dr. Smith has co-authored an article that was published in the November 2014 Journal of Endodontics. His practice is located in Birmingham, Alabama.

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