Things you need to know about Root Canal Treatment


Dental Concepts Blog

Things you need to know about Root Canal Treatment

Having a root canal is really common and it shouldn’t be feared, but why do we need root canal treatment? Some of the possible reasons for needing a root canal: are broken teeth, decay or cavities. Within the tooth, under the first 2 hard layers (enamel and dentine) there is something called the pulp. The pulp contains soft tissue, nerve endings, blood vessels and cells. When this pulp is damaged by a bacterial infection, you will likely need dental intervention. Your dentist will remove the infected pulp, fill the area and cover it. It is as simple as that!


How does your dentist know you need a root canal?

If you have a chip or crack in your tooth that is accompanied by toothache when you put pressure on the tooth (through eating etc), you may need a root canal, as the pulp may have been exposed. Rest assured that your dentist will do the necessary tests to ensure this is the right treatment for you, rather than basing it on an analysis of your symptoms. Your dentist will take a series of X-rays to assess the damage that has been done before doing the root canal treatment.

What’s included in root canal treatment?

As we have discussed above a root canal is to extract the infected pulp tissue within the tooth. I’m sure you’re wondering what the root canal pain is like. Local anaesthetic is used to reduce and eliminate the pain you feel during the process. You should only feel pressure in the tooth as opposed to pain. After the infected tissue is removed your dentist will fill the space with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, this acts like a permanent bandage. This will prevent fluid or bacteria from entering the root of the tooth.

Root canal cost

There are 2 ways of having a root canal, NHS service or private dental care. Under NHS treatment you can expect to pay £65.20 for a root canal, and privately you can expect to pay anywhere from around £300. If you have dental insurance, check with your provider whether this treatment is covered. Why is having this treatment done privately more expensive? A private dental practice can allocate a longer period with you, they usually also get the best results. You may find that if you are a member of a dental practice they will have discounts on treatments such as root canals as a member benefit. Root canal treatment cost is covered, so let’s move on...

Do I need a filling or crown after my root canal?

Many people do opt for a dental crown over their tooth after root canal treatment. Saying that it will depend on the health of the tooth and the level of protection required after your root canal. You may be advised by your dentist to have a filling rather than a crown for various reasons. After a root canal, filling the tooth is essential, but you should take your dentist’s advice on the best route to take post root canal. It’s worth noting root canal and crown fit will likely be a higher price than just a root canal alone, but again, chat to your dentist about the cost involved. Your dentist will likely be able to offer either crown or filling.

Root canal aftercare, what to expect.

Most importantly, directly after the procedure your tooth will still be numb from the local anaesthetic, you mustn't attempt to eat anything or drink anything hot. Many patients make the mistake of drinking hot drinks or attempting to eat, which can result in them burning their mouths or biting their cheeks.

Your dentist will give you a prescription for pain medication or advise you to take over-the-counter pain medication. They may give you your first dose before the procedure, but if they don’t they will direct you on when to take pain medication after the procedure. Make sure you follow the instructions given by your dentist.

Try to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth you have had the root canal on, this will allow the tooth to rest and avoid any unnecessary added pressure. Being careful when brushing the affected tooth will also reduce your chance of pain or discomfort, a huge bonus!

The root canal pain should subside within a couple of days, however, if you notice you’re still in pain we recommend getting in touch with your dentist to get some guidance, as it may be that you require additional treatment.

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