Reciprocating files: achieving the gold standard in endodontics

Chandni Ladwa talks about the advantages of reciprocating files over hand files.

In dentistry, the switch away from hand files to motorised file systems over the last 25 years has combined with modern flexible materials, which aim to minimise the risk of file breakage. Critically, their reciprocating motion can offer a greater resistance to cyclic fatigue, the leading cause of file separation. A major concern during endodontic treatment is the potential for broken or separated instruments in difficult canals.

Reciprocating files: evidence-based benefits

Studies have already shown that the cleaning and shaping of the root canal system is improved and preparation time reduced, when motor-driven instrumentation systems are used, in comparison to manual files.

A review of the literature on reciprocating instruments in endodontics found: ‘Most studies agree that the reciprocating movement can reduce torsional (binding to dentine is reduced) and cyclical fatigue (number of rotation cycles are reduced) on endodontic instruments. These instruments also maintain the original canal anatomy and demonstrate reduced time for canal preparation compared with full rotary systems’ (van der Vyver and Jonker, 2014).

The first ever study on alternating movement (Yared, 2008) considered how alternating changes of direction would reduce the number of cycles of the instrument, reducing the cyclic fatigue when compared with that imposed when instruments are used in a consistent rotating motion. The study showed: ‘Great promise for the reduction in the number of instruments required in the cleaning and shaping sequence, in minimising possible contamination and alleviating operator anxiety of the possibility of instrument failure. Preparation time was also shown to be faster than when using the same instrument in full rotation’ (Yared, 2008).

Focus on Waveone Gold

Now, the latest in a series of innovations, Waveone Gold, offers a new level of safety, effortless efficiency and super simplicity. It allows practitioners to work more efficiently, enabling them to push the file safely to its limit. Precious clinical time can be saved as patients are treated more quickly, better facilitating the ultimate goal of single-stage, one-visit treatment.

The proven strength (Elsaka, Elnaghy and Badr, 2016) and reciprocating action of Waveone Gold means dentists can work with greater confidence that they are doing their best for their patients. An important additional benefit is how few files are needed to complete treatment.

We have seen the evidence of the advantages in switching from hand files to rotary endodontics for many years. If you need help in switching to a more efficient and clinically superior system, simply contact us for support and guidance.

To find out more about the extensive range of endodontic solutions, materials and equipment, please visit or call us on 01932 853 422.

You can also access a range of education resources, video tutorials, courses and CPD webinars at

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Elsaka SE, Elnaghy AM and Badr AE (2016) Torsional and bending resistance of WaveOne Gold, Reciproc and Twisted File Adaptive instruments. Int Endod J 50(11): 1077-83

van der Vyver PJ and Jonker C (2014) Reciprocating instruments in endodontics: a review of the literature. SADJ 69(9): 404-9

Yared G (2008) Canal preparation using only one Ni-Ti rotary instrument: preliminary observations. Int Endod J 41 (4): 339-44

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