What is a root canal treatment?

The root within a tooth houses the root canal(s) (also called the dental pulp): this comprises tiny nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Each tooth root can have more than one root canal with dental pulp that initially functions to develop the tooth dentine and then serves to feed the tooth with nutrients and minerals for protection from decay and diseases.

Root Canal Treatment is a procedure to clean out pulp that is infected. The inner aspect of the tooth is then filled and sealed to protect it from injury, decay or disease.

Why would root canal treatment be suitable for me?

Anyone whose tooth is infected due to decay, disease or injury, or who has a discoloured tooth as a result of a dying tooth pulp may need Root Canal Treatment. The treatment is aimed at preventing the loss of the tooth (as this is often the only alternative), the spread of infection to adjacent structures via the root canals, the formation of abscesses and also to protect against gum disease. Dr Williams can diagnose if you need Root Canal Treatment and advise you further about the procedural techniques and costs of treatment.


Case Studies by Dr Timothy Williams ⓒ The Lytham Dental Clinic:



Q. How do I know if my tooth is infected?

A. If you have experienced an injury to your mouth and notice that your tooth is starting to discolour, this can be the start of an infected or dying tooth root. Other symptoms may include swollen and sensitive gums around the sore tooth, and a nagging toothache. It is best to have your tooth checked by Dr Williams just to make sure, so that spreading tooth decay or gum disease can be avoided early.

Q. What happens during the Root Canal Treatment procedure?

A. After the initial examination and X-ray with diagnosis, an appointment is made to proceed with the Root Canal Treatment. At this appointment, you will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the mouth area being treated so that you feel no pain.

The tooth is protected by a covering called a rubber dam while the infected tooth is cleaned and disinfected. Dr Williams will have already discussed with you whether you require a permanent filling to cover the access point or a crown to protect the tooth in the long term.

Q. Is Root Canal Treatment painful?

A. Root canal treatments have been the source of many a joke! However, modern techniques have rendered most procedures completely painless. During the procedure, Dr Williams will very carefully administer a local anaesthetic that numbs the tooth and gum regions under treatment so that no pain is felt, such as with a routine filling. Indeed, a root filling feels just like having a routine filling, it just takes a little longer.

Q. Are there any alternatives to Root Canal Treatment?

A. Root Canal Treatment is really the main method for disinfecting a tooth: frequently the only alternative is extraction. If the tooth needs to be extracted, then options to replace it may include dental implants, a bridge or dentures. Feel free to bring your questions with you and we will be happy to discuss the procedure and any alternative options to you.

Q. How much does it cost?

A. The cost of Root Canal Treatment will depend on how far the infection has spread and how much treatment is needed, which tooth it is and whether specialist endodontic treatment is required. Prior to treatment, we will discuss this with you and provide you with a fully itemised treatment plan and estimate of costs. We will also provide you with payment plan options that can make root canal treatment affordable for you.

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