When facing a medical procedure, patients often seek out choices to the standard treatment so they can decide which is best for them. That includes patients who need root canal therapy. More and more, they’re researching an alternative to standard root canal treatment, and often, the choice can come down to two alternative therapies: dental implants and the GentleWave® Procedure.
If you need root canal therapy, are either of these options right for you? That’s a question you need to explore with your dental professional; but we’ll take a closer look at each to help you with your decision.
Why Do You Need Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is recommended when an infected or significantly damaged tooth needs repair in order to save it. When a tooth suffers serious damage, such as cracked enamel, a deep cavity or trauma,* bacteria can find its way into the pulp of the tooth and cause an often-painful infection or even an abscess. How will you know if infection has set in? You’ll often experience symptoms such as a toothache. If left untreated, the infection could worsen and spread to other areas of the body.
In a standard root canal treatment, a series of files are used to reach inside the tooth and mechanically remove the infected tissue. For decades, it has been the prevailing method of cleaning root canal systems.3
Root canal systems, however, are highly complex, with twists and turns that make it difficult for files to reach everywhere. In addition, there are microscopic places along the canal walls where bacteria can hide.
The bacteria left behind may continue to multiply, which can cause the infection to return. As a result, you may find that you require another root canal treatment down the road—a fact that leads many patients to search for an alternative to standard root canal treatment.
A dental implant includes extracting the infected tooth, inserting a metal post in the jaw and affixing a porcelain crown to the post—a process that requires multiple surgeries and considerable healing time, often 4 to 12 months.**
When it comes to the results of standard root canal treatment versus a dental implant, a study published by The International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants explained that there is no notable difference in the success rates.† Rather, the decision to pursue root canal therapy or a dental implant should be based on the complexity of the patient’s specific case and their individual health and preferences—including whether or not to keep their natural tooth, which most patients prefer.‡
The GentleWave® Procedure
The GentleWave Procedure uses fluid dynamics and broad spectrum acoustic energy to clean and disinfect the root canal system—that means fewer files may be used than during standard root canal treatment. The GentleWave procedure fluids reach throughout the entire root canal system—even the microscopic crevices of the narrow canal walls that standard root canal treatments cannot reach.3 This minimally invasive alternative to standard root canal treatment1 is so effective at cleaning and disinfecting the root canal system, there’s less chance of failure over time.4
The GentleWave alternative can usually be completed in just one session and has been described as more comfortable than standard root canal treatment.4
How to Find a GentleWave Provider Near You
If you need root canal therapy and you’re interested in the GentleWave Procedure as an alternative to standard root canal treatment, use our Provider Locator to find a dentist or endodontist in your area with the GentleWave System.
‡ Azarpazhooh A et al. (2016) J Endod. 42:365-370