Root canal treatment
Root canal treatment (Endondontics)
Are you worried about root canal treatment? Have you heard horror stories from your friends who have undergone this form of treatment? Or are you just anxious about visiting the dentist?
Don’t worry because help is at hand!
Our dentists are very experienced at providing root canal therapy. This is an intricate procedure which takes a fair bit of time to complete. We will aim to save your infected tooth by cleaning out the bacteria with an innovative technique.
You will get an expert opinion if your infected tooth can be saved by root canal treatment.
Our team will ensure that you are comfortable during the treatment and provide you with adequate local anaesthetic to numb any discomfort.
Feel free to ask us for further information at your consultation and we will be more than happy answer any of your questions.
If your tooth needs a root canal, symptoms may include:
Pain that has woken you up during the night
Severe pain which has now disappeared
Sensitivity to hot or cold
A gum boil
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure which aims to save an infected tooth. It is a relatively common procedure to have done at the dentist.
A tooth has got a very fine structure within it called the root canal. A root canal contains microscopic blood vessels and nerves within them. When bacteria reach this root canal (maybe because of decay or injury), the structures within become infected. This is one of the causes of extreme dental pain. Very fine specialised instruments are used to clean the root canal and fill it up afterwards. It helps with the dental pain and to prevent any swelling or infection.
How difficult is it to provide a root canal treatment?
It depends on the skill and experience of the dentist and the complexity of the procedure. An x-ray is taken to aid with the diagnosis and your dentist will discuss any factors with you at the consultation stage.
Generally speaking, the further back you go into the mouth the more complex a root canal procedure becomes. This is because molar teeth have multiple canals in them which have the potential to harbour more bacteria.
Your Herts Dentist is very experienced at providing root canal treatment and has a success rate over 95%.
In very complex cases, patients may be referred to a root canal dental specialist (endodontist).
Would I need an anaesthetic (injection)?
It depends on the tooth. Your dentist is best placed to make that decision. We aim to give painless injections at our practice.
Is having a root canal procedure painful?
No. We are experienced in providing this procedure to a high standard and part of it involves ensuring the patient is comfortable during the procedure. In the rare instance that a tooth does become painful during the treatment we will carefully assess the situation and do our level best to make it comfortable for you.
How many visits do I need for the root canal procedure?
One, or possibly two visits if the tooth is heavily infected. Very rarely does a patient require a third visit. At Herts Dental Practice we do not charge the patient extra if they have to attend again or if the procedure happens to take extra time.
How much does it cost to have a root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment starts from £395-495 and the cost is dependent on the complexity of the case. There is no extra charge for putting a filling on top of the root canal.
What can I do before the procedure?
You dentist may advise you to take some pain killers because these will help you afterwards. Make sure you eat well and that your blood sugar levels are up.
I have just had a root canal and it is painful.
The majority of patients can use their tooth straight after the procedure without having to think about it. Other patients may experience varying levels of discomfort after the procedure. Take appropriate painkillers to numb the pain. The pain will eventually subside after a day or two, but don’t be alarmed if the tooth is still tender after 2-3 days. You should notice the discomfort subsiding.
What painkillers can I take before and after the procedure?
Paracetamol or ibuprofen based painkillers are usually good. Sometimes you can take both in combination. Ask your pharmacist for advice. Always read the leaflet and make sure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.
My dentist said I need a crown after having the root canal procedure.
A tooth is weakened after root canal treatment and most dentists will recommend a crown to be placed over the tooth to protect it. The consequence of not protecting the tooth is that it may eventually break down which may warrant its removal.
I don’t want a root canal treatment. What are my options?
Leaving an infected tooth will accumulate more bacteria and the tooth will become more rotten. This may lead to your face becoming swollen and infected, possible fever and much more. Also the infection will “eat away” at the bone surrounding the tooth.
So leaving an infected tooth alone is not the best thing to do. A patient can opt to have the tooth removed instead of a root canal, but in our experience it is best to give the tooth a chance of being saved.
What if the procedure doesn’t work?
On the rare occasion should the treatment not work, there is a second procedure called an apicectomy. This is where a deeper filling is provided. Your dentist will advise.
I don’t have any pain but my dentist says I still need root canal treatment. What if I just leave it alone, will the problem go away?
It is possible to have a “silent” abscess without noticing any pain or infection. Leaving it will make the problem get worse and may warrant tooth removal.
My pain has disappeared without having any treatment. Does that mean I don’t need a root canal?
This doesn’t mean the root canal has automatically cleaned itself. Bacteria will be accumulating inside the tooth which may cause the pain to reappear, possible accompanied with a swelling or infection.
Do antibiotics avoid the need for a root canal?
No. Antibiotics only help to minimise the risk of swelling and infection. They do not clean the infection within the tooth.