Root canal treatment

What is root canal treatment?


Root canal treatment is a dental procedure undertaken to treat an infection inside a tooth.
Root canal treatment may be needed if there is:

  • decay in a tooth,
  • trauma/ injury to a tooth,
  • fracture of a tooth,
  • decay under a filling or crown,
  • fillings or crowns that are deep and so close to the nerve,
  • extensive / severe gum disease (involving the nerve) and
  • tooth injuries or a tooth that has developed a crack.

Occasionally, a healthy tooth may need root canal treatment to enable a crown to be retained.

Root canal treatment steps

Root canal treatment is carried out under local anaesthetic to ensure patients are comfortable. Where a decision has been made to proceed with root canal treatment, the procedure will involve:

  • numbing the tooth up
  • placing a sheet to isolate the tooth. It allows the tooth to be kept dry and prevents it from becoming infected from your saliva
  • entry to the centre of the tooth where the nerve (root canal) is, by drilling through the tooth, filling or crown. If the filling or the crown is defective it may need to be removed and replaced with a temporary material
  • using specialised instruments to shape the root canal for washing and disinfection, and using a dilute bleach-like disinfectant
  • taking an x-ray picture to check the length of the root canals and the quality of root filling
  • dressing the tooth temporarily between appointments
  • placing a root filling material into the tooth to prevent the root canals from becoming re-infected.

Our experts may use microscopes or eye magnification to visualise the nerve canals and make complex treatment easier.

How long does root canal treatment take?

The process of finding, placing instruments into, preparing and washing root canals is a highly skilful procedure and takes time and patience during multiple and longer than normal appointments. Typically, treatment lasts 30 minutes to 90 minutes per session and normally involves 1-2 sessions.

Success of root canal treatment?

The success rate in those cases where there in no inflammation around the end of the root is of the order of about 96%. The success rate for those teeth with inflammation around the end of the root is about 85%. However, failure despite adequate treatment, is a possibility in a small proportion of cases and is usually due to persistent infections. In this case, either re-treatment, surgery or tooth extraction may be considered.

How much does root canal treatment cost?

  • Consultation fee for root canal treatment is £70 and small x-rays are £16 per x-ray and taken only if required.
  • The cost for Single rooted teeth is £550 (usually towards the front of the mouth).
  • The cost for Molar or multi-rooted teeth is £750 (usually towards the back of the mouth).
  • If root canal is being re-done there is a £100 fee for removal of the existing root canal materials.

All the fees will be discussed prior to doing any treatment at your consultation with the specific plan for your mouth.

What are the risks of root canal treatment?

The number of risks is minimised by the high standard of care. However, sometimes unforeseen problems can occur and may include the following;

  • mild discomfort during or after (first few days) treatment,
  • leakage of antiseptic agents into the mouth,
  • tooth fracture (which may have happened before treatment),
  • failure of canal location or root canal itself,
  • blockage of root canals, or
  • fracture of files in the canal.

Say goodbye to toothache quickly and decisively with gentle, pain-free root canal treatments 020 3925 3846.