What is root canal treatment, and why does your dentist recommend it?

If your dentist said: “You need root canal treatment?” would your heart sink a little bit? At Harley Street Dental Clinic we understand that many patients are nervous about root canal treatment. However, we are keen to reassure our patients that this specialised procedure is not just pain-free, but is also essential to prevent the need for your tooth to be extracted – an outcome nobody wants. It really is nothing to be scared of.

root canal treatmentRoot canal treatment, also known as endodontics, is necessary when the pulp or nerve at the centre of a tooth becomes infected. This is fairly common and can result from untreated tooth decay, accident or injury. You may or may not realise that your tooth has been damaged; the first sign that something is wrong is usually toothache.

Endodontic treatment involves your dentist using a binocular microscope and special files to cleanse the tooth of infection. After cleaning the space inside the root this is then filled to stop further infection occurring. In most cases, the tooth is then fitted with a crown to give it extra strength following the procedure. All of this is done under local anaesthetic, so you should experience no pain or discomfort.

At our Harley Street dental clinic our endodontic work is carried out by specialist Dr Nectaria Polycarpou, who is highly skilled and experienced and is also known for her kind, compassionate nature, which helps patients to relax before and during treatment.

Most patients who have had the procedure at our Harley Street centre report it feels no different to having a standard filling, although your appointment is likely to be longer because this is delicate, skilled work. You will require two or more appointments with the dentist to complete this procedure to ensure all infection has cleared.

Some teeth have more root canals than others (the front teeth often have one, the back teeth two or more) so the length of your appointment will depend on which tooth is involved.