Root Canal

Last medically reviewed by : June 26, 2021

Dr. Lydia Sharples MChD/BChD

Root Canal Treatments: Endodontics

Believe it or not, but root canals are very common.

In 2014/2015 alone, the NHS recorded over 5.6 million of their patients had received root canal treatment in England. 

Our root canal treatments are designed to repair and save your tooth before it’s too late. 

For many patients, one tooth or certain teeth cause them consistent problems, so teeth that have been treated a lot with fillings, or experience a lot of decay can irritate a tooth’s nerve or tooth pulp. 

This inflammation then turns into an inflamed infection that is painful and uncomfortable.

Are you in pain? Book an appointment.

Quickfire questions

  • Are root canals bad? Do I really need one? Unfortunately, patients whose tooth pulp becomes infected will require a root canal. As this area will be left exposed, bacteria can find their way in and can destroy the rest of the tooth, which might allow the infection to seep into your bloodstream making you fall incredibly ill. 
  • How long does a root canal take? Our treatment times for root canals, on average, take between 30 to 60 minutes. However, we have had more complex cases that have taken around 90 minutes. Patients will often be required to come in for two appointments to complete the procedure.
  • Why do root canals take 2 visits? Most root canals can be completed within two appointments; the first appointment focuses on the actual procedure and removing the infected pulp, the second is often a cleaning session or where your crown might be positioned. 
  • What happens if a root canal fails? This happens when a previously treated tooth becomes infected at the root. If ignored this spreads to other teeth and other parts of the body. As all medical and dental treatments run the risk of failure, learning the signs of a failed root canal can help a dentist save the natural tooth before it’s too late. Failed root canals can be treated with retreatment, surgery and even tooth extraction. 
  • Should I have a tooth extraction or a root canal? Root canals have higher success rates because they avoid any future complications, and the removal of a tooth is often seen as a last resort. Our aim is to make you comfortable so we will explore and discuss all of these options with you in detail. 

Do you have infected tooth nerves? Check these symptoms

If your tooth is injured or has deep decay the vessels and nerves inside the root canal may become infected, or exposed. 

Symptoms usually involve pain, throbbing, toothache, sensitivity, and in some cases no symptoms at all. 

Below we have outlined some very common and typical symptoms from our patients who have experienced root canal problems.

  • Persistent tooth pain
  • Hot and cold temperature sensitivity
  • Discolouration of the tooth (black)
  • Inflamed or swollen gums
  • Pain when touching, applying pressure or biting down on the tooth
  • The tooth is chipped or cracked

Still unsure? Call us today on 01628 488 538 to book an appointment and we can help identify if you will need a root canal procedure or not. 

Procedure processeffective canals

The dentist will open the tooth through the crown (the flat part) in order to access the soft tissues that live at the centre of the tooth pulp.

From here, we will remove the infected pulp and if a dental abscess is present at the same time (pus-filled swelling), we will also drain this too.

At Bespoke Smile, we only use rotating root canal equipment, which is shown to be the most effective, and quick, way of cleaning the tooth. 

We always try to ensure the utmost comfort for example by having the music of your choice on in the background – please let us know if there’s anything we can do to prepare and ensure your comfort.

Do I need a crown after a root canal?

It is your choice to not proceed with a crown. However, as dentists, we believe we should communicate to our patients that it will be important to improve the overall surviving rate of the tooth.

If you keep your teeth clean and are committed to strict oral care and routines you can keep your teeth healthy for a very long time. 

But we see a lot of instances where treatment can fail because of a lack of proper aftercare as well as a lack of further protection that a cosmetic dental crown provides. 

Learn more about crowns here.

Risks and benefits

The risks include that your tooth will never be as strong as it was prior to the surgery, which means your tooth can crack. 

Due to the bacterial infection, the tooth actually dies during the procedure and the living parts are removed – this can effectively make teeth brittle.

However, if you have an infection within your tooth root or pulp this will need to be treated and the benefits far outweigh the risks when it comes to ensuring your mouth remains healthy and intact. 

To ensure success we insist on very thorough assessments and consultations – it significantly improves success rates – which for first-time root canal treatment is over 90%. 

Recovery and aftercare

The procedure will be performed under local anaesthetic and is truly not as painful or uncomfortable as some patients might imagine.

As with all procedures, when the anaesthesia wears off, patients can expect to experience feelings of discomfort, which can be relieved with over the counter medications. 

You can expect the tooth to heal over a few days, patients who might be experiencing rare complications can take up to two weeks to recover.

Root canal treatment costs

the best cosmetic dentistsAt Bespoke Smile we have invested in the latest innovations in the dental world and our experienced dentists are able to deliver a simple and painless procedure.

Our root canal treatments begin from £395.

What’s included in the cost?

Root canal treatment is done under something known as a “rubber dam” where the tooth is protected from any contamination, increasing comfort during treatment and also chances of success of treatment.

Patients who are wanting to have a strong, durable and natural-looking crown fitted following the procedure can expect prices beginning from £850. 

Do I have to get a root canal treatment – are there any alternatives?

Each case is different – it depends on the level of pain the tooth is causing, where the root canal is and the likelihood of infection impacting other tissues.

Sometimes antibiotics can be used to treat the effects of the problem but not the cause, therefore only a temporary solution.

We sometimes recommend this when patients cannot spare the time for a root canal for a week or so, or if there is swelling.

However, typically once the nerve of the tooth is infected or damaged, root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth.

If the tooth is symptom-free, it can be left untreated if preferred, however, we typically recommend dealing with problems as soon as possible.

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