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Endodontic Topics 2005, 10, 148–150 Copyright r Blackwell Munksgaard

All rights reserved ENDODONTIC TOPICS 2005


The LightSpeed root canal

instrumentation system

The LightSpeeds root canal instrument design is unique in that it has a non-cutting pilot, a very short blade and a
flexible, non-cutting shaft. This allows negotiating 3-dimensional canal curvatures with saftey and precision. The
technique is simple, predictable and similar for all canals. As its name implies, the SimpliFills obturation technique
is simple to use and unique in that it is the only carrier-based obturation system that does not leave the carrier in the
canal. It consists of a 5 mm piece of gutta percha (also available in Resilon) that matches the size of the LightSpeed
preparation for a predictable fit. Backfilling (coronal to the Apical Plug) can be done many different ways. This
article describes a backfilling technique that is fast and simple utilizing a syringe and small gauge needle.

Background The LS technique essentially follows the same steps

for all teeth. A handpiece (preferably low torque and
The apical area of the root canal system is a critical cordless), rotating at 2000 r.p.m. is required; all one
region that presents the greatest challenge for instru- needs to do is gently advance LS to the desired length.
ments to clean and irrigants to penetrate. The quality of
cleaning depends on the pre-instrumentation size of
the canal and the size of the largest apical instrument Technique
used (Master Apical Rotary (MAR)/MAF). Instru- LS instruments should be used only after preparing a
ments smaller than the original apical canal diameter standard access cavity, flaring coronally (not with LS),
cannot remove infected dentine and it is not likely that
depth of irrigation needle penetration and irrigant
volume will be adequate, in particular in small canals.
Fig. 1. The LightSpeed root canal instrument has a non-
cutting tip and a short blade. The shaft is smooth, non-
tapered and very flexible. Length measuring rings are
located on the shank.
Design of the LightSpeed (LS)
Table 1. Before using LightSpeed instruments
LS instruments (LightSpeed Technology Inc., San
Antonio, TX, USA) are designed for apical preparation Prepare access
while providing the correct shape for a quality Flare coronal third
obturation. They have a short cutting blade (0.25–
2 mm in length), with a non-cutting pilot tip and a Determine working length
smooth, flexible shaft (Fig. 1). They can negotiate even Explore canal and establish patency with a size #15 K-type
difficult curvatures and cut dentine from canal walls file
without fear of coronal over-enlargement. There are
Broach, when possible
more instruments in the LS System because the apical
diameters of canals vary widely.

The LightSpeed system

Table 2. Instrumentation – 5 steps

1. Gauge canal to determine its minimum diameter (FLSB)

2. Begin apical instrumentation with the FLSB size and end

with the Master Apical Rotary (MAR) size (12 ‘pecks’)

3. Instrument 4 mm short of WL with the next larger size

4. Instrument middle third with three to four larger sizes

5. Recapitulate to WL with the MAR

Table 3. Handpiece movements

Enter canal rotating; advance slowly to resistance

From resistance go to WL with an advance/withdraw

motion (pecks)

At WL immediately withdraw from the canal (rotating)

Always use a light touch

Table 4. Apical cleaning (FLSB vs. MAR)

Gauging (sizing) finds the smallest diameter (FLSB) of the


Gauging is done by hand with LightSpeed instruments

Rotary instrumentation begins with the gauging size

Sequentially larger sizes clean more of the canal wall

The MAR size ends instrumentation (cleans all canal walls;

use 12 Pecks Rule)

Fig. 2. SimpliFill is a solid, 5 mm tapered gutta percha

cone attached to a stainless-steel carrier. The carrier is
removed from the canal after it condenses the cone to Fig. 3. (a) Pre-treatment radiograph of mandibular left
working length (with sealer). The middle and coronal second molar. (b) Post-obturation radiograph: The ML,
parts of the canal are obturated with the technique of MB and D canals were obturated apically with SimpliFill
choice. GP Plugs (#60) and AH Plus sealer. The middle and
coronal thirds of all canals were obturated with GP and
AH Plus sealer. (c) One-year follow-up radiograph. (Case
obtaining working length (WL) and assuring canal patency by Dr William L. Wildey.)
with at least a loose fitting size 15 K-type file. Canals are
broached when possible to remove pulp tissue (Table 1). measures the smallest diameter of a canal with LS using
Step 1: The original apical canal diameter is gauged moderate apical force. Begin with a small instrument and
(sized) with LS instruments by hand (Table 2). Gauging test whether it goes to WL. If it does then it is smaller

Senia & Wildey

than the canal diameter. Therefore, try sequentially motion but without counting pecks. This completes
larger instruments until one binds before reaching WL. cleaning and shaping the apical 5 mm of the canal for
This instrument is used in the handpiece. However, if obturation with a similarly shaped 5 mm SimpliFill
the small instrument selected binds short of WL it is too Gutta Percha Plug (LightSpeed Technology Inc., San
large and you should try sequentially smaller sizes until Antonio, TX, USA) (Fig. 2).
one goes to WL. You will find that the next larger size Step 4: The middle third of the canal is instrumented
will bind before WL and that is the size used in the with sequentially larger full-size LS instruments (there
handpiece. With such gauging the instrument size is no need to use the half-sizes). When an instrument
closely approximates the smallest size of the canal. no longer advances easily with light pecks, it is
We call this instrument the FLSB because it is the First withdrawn from the canal and replaced with the next
LS instrument size to Bind before reaching WL. Note larger full size. This sequence continues until reaching a
that this size is used to begin (not end) canal size that does not easily advance beyond the coronal
preparation. third of the canal. Mid-root is usually prepared with
Step 2: Begin mechanical instrumentation with the three or four LS instruments.
FLSB. All LS instruments are used the same way; with a Step 5: Recapitulate to WL with the MAR. This
slow, continuous apical movement until the blade ensures a clear path for filling.
binds, a momentary pause, and then advancing it to WL
with intermittent or ‘pecking’ motions (a ‘peck’ is a
short inward and a slight withdrawal motion) (Table 3). Conclusion
The number of pecks required to reach WL will increase
Rotary instrumentation is an exciting and valuable
as instrument size increases because more wall dentine
advancement in canal preparation. Better apical clean-
is cut. The instrument size that, of itself, requires 12
ing, the essence of successful therapy, is now possible
pecks or more (‘12 pecks rule’) to advance from where
with the latest generation of rotary nickel–titanium
it first binds (and pecking begins) until reaching WL is
instruments (Fig. 3).
called the MAR. The MAR is the ‘correct’ instrument
size for proper apical cleaning (Table 4). Smaller sizes
do not clean as well whereas larger sizes may cause over-
enlargement and weakening of root structure.
Step 3: The next larger size is used to instrument to a The assistance of Mr Steven Senia, BSIE, MBA is gratefully
length that is 4 mm short of WL using a pecking acknowledged.


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