Root Canal Treatment

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

The Chief Dental Officer (CDO MARCH 2020) has released a statement :

ALL DENTAL PRACTICES IN THE UK HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO:

  • Cease all care of anyone who is classed as non urgent and stop all procedures that generate aerosols.
  • Dental Practices - the staff are at high risk of contracting the virus from the public and should only offer a dental service if they have the resources and the PPE.

At Hoddesdon Dental Surgery, until further notice, we will be stopping ALL Dental Care - from WEDNESDAY THIS WEEK (25th March 2020).

We strongly advise patients to avoid seeking dental assistance until the virus has been controlled and practice self isolation for their own and others safety.

IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING FOR EXAMPLE : then wait until the dental practice reopens :

Routine care such as a dental check up and hygiene treatment 

Fillings and other treatments that are not urgent .

  • Mild or moderate pain: that is, pain not associated with an urgent care condition and that responds to pain-relief measures
  • Minor dental trauma
  • Post-extraction bleeding that the patient is able to control using self-help measures
  • Loose or displaced crowns, bridges or veneers
  • Fractured or loose-fitting dentures and other appliances
  • Fractured posts
  • Fractured, loose or displaced fillings
  • Treatments normally associated with routine dental care
  • Bleeding gums
  • ORTHODONTICS/ INVISALIGN OR COSMETIC OR IMPLANT WORK

WHAT IS CLASSED AS A DENTAL EMERGENCY?

Dental emergencies include:

  • Trauma including facial/oral laceration and/or dentoalveolar injuries, for example avulsion of a permanent tooth
  • Oro-facial swelling that is significant and worsening
  • Post-extraction bleeding that the patient is not able to control with local measures
  • Dental conditions that have resulted in acute systemic illness or raised temperature as a result of dental infection
  • Severe trismus
  • Oro-dental conditions that are likely to exacerbate systemic medical conditions such as diabetes (that is lead to acute decompensation of medical conditions such as diabetes)

PLEASE NOTE – YOU WlLL NOT BE SEEN BY THE EMERGENCY DENTAL SERVICE OR BY OUR DENTAL STAFF AT HODDESDON DENTAL SURGERY IF YOU DO NOT FALL INTO THESE CATEGORIES.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU DO FALL INTO A DENTAL EMERGENCY CATEGORY THAT CAN NOT WAIT : 

  • Contact the practice on 01992 462 043

We are running a phone triage system and will have to filter those that we can and cannot see.

  • Contact NHS 111 services if you cannot wait for the practice to get back to you.

(it may take upto 48 hours for us to get back to you as we will be dealing with other emergencies)

NO HIGH RISK PATIENT WILL BE SEEN AT HODDESDON DENTAL SURGERY: 

  • All high risk or infected patients can find out the local high risk dental centre by calling NHS 111 (where special facilities have been set up)

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.