The field of endodontics has improved tremendously over the years, and technology is the biggest gamechanger. One of my favorite pieces of tech is the GentleWave root canal procedure, which takes irrigation to a whole new level.
I remember in dental school being in awe of the operating microscope. I would watch the endo residents and wonder what they were seeing. It didn’t make much sense to me at the time, simply because I didn’t have that much experience, but I now see the significance.
By the time I started my own endodontic residency, the CBCT had started to make its way into the marketplace. I was able to play around with an ICAT, but only on a few patients. My experience with the technology was minimal. By the time I opened my own practice, this new cone beam imaging had started to really take off and I did everything in my power to make sure that I got one. And, man am I glad that I did, because the CBCT has changed my life and the way I practice.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better for my specialty, it has!
The GentleWave root canal procedure has dropped my number of retreatments on my own cases by 90%
For the first decade of my endodontic practice, I had a handful of patients who still had issues with their tooth after their root canal that I performed. The root canal would look great, there was no lesion, but the tooth felt different to the patient than their other teeth. And there would be no evidence of a crack, either.
I actually had this exact same thing happen to MY tooth!
Previously, my answer was to simply retreat the tooth and see if long-term calcium hydroxide medication does the trick — and 8 times out of 10, it did.
But, what about the other 20% of teeth? And what about reducing the number of retreatments needed in the first place?
I don’t exactly have an explanation for patients’ persistent pain, but since everything is bacterial in endo, then this must be the problem.
Enter this new technology: the GentleWave root canal procedure.
When I had that issue with my tooth, I got it retreated with GentleWave. There were some occlusal issues, but once that was adjusted as well, everything was absolutely perfect!
Back in 2018, I completed my first demo of the GentleWave Procedure by Sonendo, and I was blown away! My first impression was: This procedure is irrigation on steroids! I mean, we all know that our rotary files are only cleaning about 65% of the canals and leaving 35% of the bugs behind, so our success is heavily based on irrigation.
GentleWave is minimally invasive, using sound and fluid dynamics to activate the irrigant in even the teeniest, tiniest, most hidden canals in a tooth’s anatomy. All those microscopic places where bacteria can hide… they are no match for this technology.
Here’s the wild thing: I used to have to retreat 1-2 of my own cases per month. After I switched to GentleWave, I’m only having to retreat 1-2 a year. That’s a 90% reduction in retreatments, meaning I have happier patients, increased production time, and greater efficiencies and profits.
Trust me when I tell you that the GentleWave has a massive ROI and is 100% worth the investment of money and training time.
I’ve come a long way with the GentleWave root canal procedure.
I’ve become a huge freaking advocate for GentleWave in the last 5 years since I first was introduced to the procedure.
I don’t even get a kick-back from them. I’m not an affiliate; I’m just a GentleWave provider. In fact, I even thought about holding off on this post to see if I could become an affiliate first. I feel like my advocacy has only helped GentleWave take off! But I decided to go ahead and post anyway, because I want you to know that this is my genuine, honest experience.
Here are some pics of the first time I saw GentleWave in action back in 2018. I went to Nashville, TN to watch my friends from Cumberland Endodontics use this brand new (at the time) technology.
Since then, GentleWave has become an integral part of my practice. It’s pretty rare that I don’t use it in a case. Here’s one of my favorites: that time GentleWaved helped me get into all those hard-to-reach places.
I have more cases like this than I can count. I’m not telling you to go spend a ton of money on technology right now. But I do want to make you aware of what exists out there, that might really improve your outcomes.
If you want more tooth stories, tips, tricks, and real-life radiographs, I’d love to invite you to join my email list. It’s free to subscribe, and I’ll be in your inbox every week with a new useful tip or tool. Empower yourself, my friend, and let’s keep learning together.
woooowww. Be the guide to all ……
I salute your passion and the way you represent yourself
I really appreciate you reading AND your kind words!
I have been a dental assistant over 25 years .I have had several doctors try and so Endo treatment on me and never once has it worked .Every single time after about a hour I would feel pressure and the tooth would have to be opened and blood would drain. .This of course was before it was fully done since I knew I didn’t have luck we would never finish in one visit just to be in the safe side .I’m at a point now that my large fillings have gotten to the point of needing Endo and crowns .I’m so scared I will lose my teeth because of my Endo history .I just read about their new root canal therepy approach and treatment and I’m Feeling so hopeful that this can be a chance to save my teeth .I am going to try this because I currently have a severe upper right tooth -#3 tooth ache sudden cold sensation jaw pain and dull aching.I am going to a gp tommorow and if I’m told I need Endo I will be looking for a endodontist that can provide this treatment..My biggest concern. Is paying for this and it failing and then needing an ext and implant .Can u give me any advice or hope this could work for me ?Also
note only general dentists have performed Endo since I worked for them each time I needed it.Inhave never even a endodontist so I’m hoping with the new technology and seeing a specialist I’ll have a good outcome. Any advice would be great..
Hi Angela, we recommend that you get a second opinion from a Gentlewave provider. You can find a directory on their website.
Thanks for sharing this information. Informative and interesting!
Thank you for reading, Lian!
Has there been any incidents of the Gentlewave procedure perforated the sinus cavities?
Hi Robert. I believe that there have been a few slight incidences, however, I have never experienced them (knock on wood). You will have the patient feel it from time to time, but just like anything else, you have to be smart. All you have to do is lift your foot off the pedal and abort it. As soon as you stop, there is no longer any discomfort in those situations. Thanks for your question.
Thanks for sharing! You r doing tremendous job to all the dentists out there by sharing these informative blogs!! Stay blessed girl!
Thank you, Hina – I appreciate that!
Hi Dr. Chopra,
Would you recommend a general dentist to purchase the gentlewave system ?
If you feel that it is going to be cost effective for you, then sure. It’s not cheap and there is a learning curve, so keep that in mind!
Hi Dr Sonia,
Thanks for sharing your passion. Are there any chances of tissue damage caused by radicular extrusion of irrigant leading to IAN injury or sinus perforation. It will be great if you can share reported incidence or research done on that.
I am sure there is no matter how you irrigate. I personally have not experienced any type of accident from the Gentlewave. And just like anything, you have to use it as directed. There are safety features of the device that help too. Plus, the irrigant comes out as a mist and not forceful, if the patient is uncomfortable you just stop the machine by lifting up your foot from the pedal. Simple!
Nice article regarding root canal.
After 6 weeks I had a root canal failure. Same pain as I had 8 weeks prior to the root canal being done. See my general dentist every 6 months with beautiful teeth. High level of investment to be sure they are healthy. Gentle Wave was used by endodontist. Within weeks I have pain and another infection. Gentle wave does not do what it is supposed to do.
So within a month another root canal.
Hi there. I am so sorry that you are still having a problem with your tooth. Not everything is 100% successful in medicine. As an endodontist that uses Gentlewave, I will still have a case here and there that I will have to redo. Most of the time, after that redo, the patient feels better. Not everything is dependent on the treatment or the tools, there are also variables that exist within the host and how someone heals. I would have another visit with your endodontist to see if they can have another look. Best of luck.
Thank you for sharing this article with us. I am student of DDS and looking for this information for a long time. I have to make a thesis on root canal.
Thank you for reading! Good luck on your thesis!
I had the procedure with a good result the next day, but my swelling and bump on my gumline did not resolve. I was seen by the young endodontist’s partner who gave me antibiotics and a month later it looked exactly the same but he sent me to my dentist to have my tooth restored. My dentist still saw an infection and sent me back. The endodontist who performed the GentleWave said it wasn’t an infection. He said it was the biocompatible material he used to fill it that caused the bump and swelling and said my gum tissue had grown over it. I needed gum surgery to remove it and it would take 2 weeks to heal completely. The stitches were removed and it has not healed. I’ve lost trust in the endodontist as well as the procedure because I’ve had a traditional root canal at the same practice without complications. Have you had this experience?
I am so sorry that you are having this experience. It is possible that you may not heal, no matter what is done. No matter how good a job we do, there will always be a few that fail. I hope that that is not you and that you just need more time, but nothing in medicine is 100%. But, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. I wish I had more information to help guide you, but without getting my eyes on it, there is only so much that I can comment. Good luck.
You’re doing an amazing job for all dentists who read the informative blog posts! Keep it up!
Thank you for reading!
How many gentle wave procedures are necessary to prepare the root for final treatment.
Usually it takes just one. Sometimes you will have a case that requires two.
Do you believe that Gentle Wave, along with microscope, ultrasonics, CBCT is/will become the standard of care?
It is in my mind! I think it will take some time for it to be official though.
Hi Dr. Chopra! Thanks for telling us your experience with gentlewave. How much did it cost you to set up the gentlewave? I am thinking of incoporating the gentlewave in my future practice. And how much does it cost to run the machine for single case?
Dr. Sung, Trust me when I tell you that you will get your ROI on this technology. There are so many hidden ROIs with this tech. Most people charge their patients $100 for the handpiece to run the machine. I give a workshop on this to GW users, so feel free to reach out to Sonendo and see if you can attend. You will learn a lot.
Good one! Every day, millions of families around the world look for a dentist with the best dental hygiene results, the most affordable dental care, and the most expertise in their area. There are only a few dental professionals in each country that have all of these qualities, and fewer still that have all of these qualifications at the same time. dentist near me
Hi Dr. Chopra–
I underwent this procedure and sustained significant throat and vocal chord damage. The endo explained that he was using a new procedure and that if I felt any burning I should raise my hand. Needless to say by the time I raised my hand it was already too late . I lost my voice completely for 3 weeks and was forced into therapy. Have you ever seen this before?
I have never seen this before. But, I do evaluate for safety with my 3D imaging to make sure ALL my patients are a candidate for the procedure. Sometimes I refrain from using it (not often though) and I will rely on my laser alone to get the job done.
Great article! As someone who has had a root canal, I found this very informative and interesting. It’s amazing to see how technology is changing the field of endodontics, and the GentleWave procedure sounds like a game-changer for preventing root canal failure. It’s also great to hear how the CBCT and microscope have already made such a big impact on the practice of endodontics. Thanks for sharing your personal experience with these technologies, it’s helpful to see how they have influenced your practice. Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences with GentleWave and how it is helping your patients. Keep up the great work!
Thanks for reading!
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