Root Canal Treatment

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Following Government guidelines, the surgery has now reopened. We are initially prioritising those with the most urgent dental needs, with a view to resume routine dental care as soon as we can.

We are seeing patients by appointment only, please continue to call us for advice and support.

 

Although our practice has reopened please note it will not be business as usual. The treatments you are offered may be different to those you received before, depending on staff and personal protection equipment ( PPE ) available. It will take some time before services return to what you previously experienced as normal. Please be patient with us while we work towards resuming normal dental services in a safe environment.

 

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

 

  • Our practice will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment
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  • We have hand sanitiser that we will ask you to use when you enter the practice.
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  • We no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult  to clean and disinfect
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  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

 

We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.

 

How you can help:

  • Please do not arrive without an appointment
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  • Please do not arrive early to the practice. Once you have arrived, please call the practice by phone      on 01992 462 043 and check in with reception. You should then wait outside the practice until called in by a nurse.
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  • Please limit the number of things you bring with you to your appointment. ONLY bring  necessary items.
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  • Please bring your own pen to sign any consent forms
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  • We may ask you to complete your medical history form at home and bring it in at your appointment. Please ensure all parts are completed and all medications are recorded on this form
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  • With the exception of children and patients with carers, patients should come alone
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  • Only one consenting adult will be able to escort a child.
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  • A face covering must be worn by anyone escorting a child or vulnerable adult into the building. This cannot be provided by the practice due to PPE shortages. All our PPE will be needed to treat our patients and protect staff and patients.
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  • A distance of at least 2 metres must be observed if another patient is present in the dental practice
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  • Payment should be made by card where possible and we will sometimes request this over the phone. If cash payment is to be made, please make sure you bring the cash in a plastic bag. Staff will not shake your hand
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  • If you show symptoms following appointment booking, you should contact the practice by phone for advise

 

The welfare of our staff and patients is extremely important to us moving into this next stage in providing your dental care.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back

 

The Team at Hoddesdon Dental Surgery

 

Underneath your tooth’s outer enamel and within the dentine is an area of soft tissue called the pulp. This contains the tooth’s nerves, lymph and blood vessels. Root canals are very small, thin divisions that branch off from the top pulp chamber down to the tip of the root. A tooth has at least one but no more than 4 root canals.


Deep tooth decay, deep fractures or an injury due to trauma, can cause serious damage and infection to the pulp. If the pulp becomes infected, the infection can spread through the entire root canal system of the tooth. This will eventually lead to an abscess. If the tooth is left untreated an abscess could spread to the area outside of the tooth, bone around the tooth may degenerate, causing tooth loss.

Once the pulp in infected, the options for treatment are either: Root Canal Treatment or Extraction.

Root canal, or endodontic treatment, cleans out the infected pulp chamber and repairs the damage so the tooth can be saved. Early indication that root canal treatment may be necessary include:

  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cool foods
  • Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone
  • Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting

Root canal treatment eliminates nerve problems and abscesses and avoids tooth extraction, and is far more cost effective in the long term.

What does it involve?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.

At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.

The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does it hurt?

No. A local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. We take every care ensuring a comfortable procedure. The majority of people who have undergone root canal treatment typically report that the process itself is no more involved than having a filling placed.

What happens after treatment?

Natural tissue inflammation may cause discomfort for a few days, which can be controlled by an over-the-counter analgesic. A follow-up exam can monitor tissue healing.

What if I don’t have the treatment?

The only alternative is usually extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind is likely to require an implant or a bridge, which is more expensive and time intensive than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it's always best to keep your original teeth.

What if it happens again?

More than 90% of root canal treatments are successful. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated.

What will my tooth look like after treatment?

In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.

Will the tooth be safe after treatment?

Yes. However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

What about aftercare?

Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.