I get a lot of general dentists who come to me in E-School with the explicit purpose of mastering endodontic instrumentation. Want to know what their first question usually is? It’s “What is your favorite endodontic file system?”

I don’t have a favorite endo file system, but I do have my favorite files. And I want to share these precious tools with you! (Give the video below a watch for a rundown, or read on for all the same info in text form!)

Endodontic instrumentation mastery 101: The endo C file

Let’s start with the wonderful C file, specifically the 10C file. 

I really love to start all of my cases with this file in order to get my working length. I like a C file a lot better than a K file because it helps me get through a lot of calcification in order to get my working length really fast. 

This file is seriously one of my best friends!

For all the curvy canals out there

The S1 Gold endo file is a standout for me after I’ve gotten my working length. 

In all honesty, I am a bit of a Protaper girl—I started out using the Protaper Universal, but now I use the S1 Gold. I especially love the Protaper Gold when I have a really curvy canal because these files really bend, and then they hold that shape nicely. 

One of the main reasons I love the Gold system so much is because the shank is a little bit shorter—it’s 11mm as opposed to 13mm. So for me, since I get a ton of second molars, I find it a lot easier to get these files into the patient’s mouth. I know they’re just 2mm apart, but it makes such a big difference when we’re talking about mastering our endo instrumentation AND our root canals. Precision is key!

I’m going to come right out and say it: The S1 Gold is my favorite file, because when I use it, it just feels like butter. It’s so smooth going in and out, and I love that it cuts the canal walls. A lot of my reps have been trying to get me to switch—I’ve even tried the WaveOne Gold—but I just keep coming back to the fantastic S1 Gold file.

Conquering the coronal aspect

As much as I love the S1 Gold, it’s not foolproof, so I also use my handy dandy ProGlider. 

The S1 is a coronal shaper, so it will really cut in the coronal aspect of the canal. But sometimes I just can’t get to working length that easily, so I need the Proglider to assist my S1. 

You need to be patient with the whole process of endodontic instrumentation. Sometimes I’ll go back and forth between my hand files and my rotary files just to be safe. 

The Proglider is like a mini Protaper, essentially. It broadens your path from the hand file to your rotary file, so it’s not really to create a path, per se. Any pathfinder file that you use is not really meant to break down calcification—it’s actually meant to take the path that you created with your hand file and make it from one lane to two lanes, so that your rotary file can go a little bit more smoothly (and more importantly, more safely). I don’t use my Proglider on every case, but I sure do use it a lot. A lot of times my S1 will go to working length just fine, but I do use the Proglider to make that bridge between the hand file and the rotary file.

Again, the idea here is patience. Always be patient with your hand file before you use your Proglider. And again, sometimes go back and forth between your Proglider and your hand file! Taking that extra time is worth it in the long run.

Find more canals

The next file I want to gush about is the S1 Universal. 

I still use it although I primarily use the Golds to shape my canals. I just can’t let go of the S1 Universal! It is a little more stiff, not bending like the S1 Gold, and that’s exactly why I like it..

This handy file helps me find additional canals. So I love to use it specifically for my MB2 when it is under a little bit of dentin. I will often use this one to get the canal started. A lot of dentists will try to use a hand file to get into these tougher canals, but I go straight to my rotary, and just open up the first 2-3mm of that canal with my S1, and then I switch to my 6C file or my 8C file to get down in the canal and to achieve patency. 

But before all that, you’ve got to get it started, and for that, I love to use my S1 Universal. I mean, I can’t talk about mastering endodontic instrumentation without talking about this one.

Your tools + your timing

I don’t usually have to use all these files in a single case—maybe if it was a SUPER tough one I would—but I always keep them on-hand just the same. 

Mastery of endodontic instrumentation isn’t just about having the right tools, it’s also about knowing when to use them, and in what sequence. 

So there you have it, my top files: the 10C File, a Progilder, an S1 Gold, and an S1 Universal. 

Like I said, it isn’t just about WHAT you’re working with, it’s the HOW and the WHEN. 

Want a little bit more insight into how I use my tools? I’ve got a resource you’re gonna love. 

Download my free Endodontic Instrumentation Workflow here. 

– Sonia