What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is a common dental procedure. It is also known as endodontic treatment. It if often performed by general dental practitioners, but in complex cases or where the tooth is of critical importance, you may be referred to a Specialist such as Dr. Lyndon Meehan to complete the treatment.

Why Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?

At the centre of the tooth is the dental pulp. The dental pulp contains nerves and blood vessels which keep the tooth alive. In health, this is called a vital pulp. Disease can affect the dental pulp and cause it to ‘die off’. This is called a non-vital pulp and will eventually lead to the tooth developing an infection. The pulp can become non-vital for a variety of reasons:

  • Tooth decay
  • Trauma to the tooth, such as a bump playing contact sport
  • Repeated previous extensive dental work such as fillings, crowns, and bridges
  • Cracks or chips in teeth

Symptoms of infection may include swelling of the gum, pain with hot or cold drinks, or a painful tooth on biting. All of these symptoms can also be associated with other dental conditions, so your dentist will need to take a radiograph (x-ray) and examine you to confirm the diagnosis.

Root canal treatment aims to stop the pain, remove the infection and seal the inside of the tooth to prevent it happening again.

What Is The Referral Process?

Because of the need for ongoing care with a general dental practitioner, we do not accept self-referrals for Specialist Root Canal Treatment.

Your dentist will refer you by letter or email to our Clinic. On receipt of this referral, a member of our team will contact you to book an appointment.

The initial consultation costs £95. A £50 deposit is taken by card payment over the telephone to secure the initial consultation appointment, with a further £45 being payable at the time of your consultation. Your card details are never kept on record and you will be provided with your card receipt when you attend your appointment.

What Happens On My First Visit?

On your first visit, a full consultation and dental examination will be carried out, along with appropriate radiographs. This helps to make an accurate assessment and diagnosis so as to provide you with the most appropriate advice regarding your tooth.

Lyndon will then explain and discuss his findings, treatment options and costs with you. During this process, Lyndon is happy to answer any questions you may have so that you are comfortable with the proposed treatment.

Following this appointment, Lyndon will provide you with a full breakdown of the expected treatment and the costs involved. Because of the nature of this type of treatment, sometimes the treatment and therefore the associated costs will change, depending on the findings during treatment. These changes will always be discussed in advance, as far as is practicable.

Once a treatment plan is formulated, you will be required to sign a consent form which confirms you understand the procedure and costs involved. If you have any questions about anything involved, please ask Lyndon so that you are comfortable before starting treatment. You can of course ask questions as the treatment progresses, but it is important that you are happy with the plan before starting.

Treatment is not normally carried out on this visit unless your dentist and Lyndon have discussed your case in advance, for example in the case of dental trauma or acute infection.

How Is A Root Canal Treatment Performed?

Treatments are performed using local anaesthetic, as with most dental treatments. As with all dental procedures, we advise that you have something to eat before your dental appointment as you will be numb for a few hours after your appointment.

A rubber sheet (rubber dam) is used  to isolate the tooth from the rest of your mouth. The infected dental pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned with and sealed.  This is usually carried out with the use of an operating microscope which magnifies the inside of the tooth by up to 20 times.

Treatment is normally completed in 2-3 visits, depending on the complexity of the treatment. Each appointment can be up to 90 minutes as time is spent disinfecting the tooth.

Root canal treatment is successful in around 90% of cases. If your tooth is not suitable for root canal treatment or the chance of success is low, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident. The alternative to root canal treatment is often extraction of the tooth. Lyndon will always aim for the best outcome after considering a number of factors, so you may be advised to return to your dentist for removal of the tooth and to discuss restoring the space after if the prognosis for the tooth is poor.

Does It Hurt?

You may have heard that root canal treatment hurts; this should not be the case. The pain very often comes before root canal treatment is started and is associated with an infection in the tooth. Local anaesthesia is used  to make the treatment comfortable and you should experience no pain during the appointment. You may get some mild aching after, but this usually subsides within a day ow two and can be controlled with over-the-counter painkillers.

How Much Will It Cost?

The costs associated with this procedure vary depending on the complexity of treatment, the tooth involved (molars can be more complex to treat than incisors, for example) and the number of appointments expected to finish your treatment. Whilst Lyndon will aim to complete the treatment as quickly as possible for you, as a Specialist Endodontist he does take time to complete the treatment to the highest standards and this is likely to take longer than a general dentist would take.

A guide to our standard costs can be found on the fees page. Please note that these are only a guide and that an accurate estimate will be provided after your initial consultation.

What Happens After Treatment? 

Following treatment, it is the responsibility of your own dentist to provide an appropriate crown or filling, as advised by Lyndon. A detailed treatment report and x-rays will sent to you and your dentist for ongoing care. You should contact your dentist for a follow-up appointment as soon as possible upon completion of treatment with Lyndon.

It is rare for patients to experience complications after treatment. However, if a problem does occur, you should contact us immediately so that we can help.