Root canal therapy

When a tooth is exposed to decay, infection or dental trauma the living tissue inside it is no longer able to regulate naturally occurring bacteria. This bacteria grows and causes inflammation and infection. During the phase that the living tissue dies this can often be very painful.

Is this the right treatment for you?

If the tissue inside a tooth has died there are only two ways to manage the problem and each involve removing the dead tissue inside.

If the tooth is reparable then it would be best to restore it - and this means removing only the dead tissue.

If the tooth is not fixable then removing the tooth and investigating appropriate tooth replacement is appropriate.

Good to know

Keeping in mind a replacement is unlikely to last as long as a well managed and restored tooth, it is often better to try to maintain the natural tooth as long as possible. Extracting a tooth which may be reparable is solving one problem by creating another.

You're in good hands

At Integrated Dentalcare we have invested heavily in technology and skills to ensure we are providing this treatment to the highest standard we possibly can. Appropriate pre-assessment allows us to plan whether the tooth can be treated by one of our general dentists or whether specialist management is more appropriate. We are fortunate to have a specialist at the practice who we can refer to for more complex cases or retreatment cases. It is possible to manage the pain before completing the treatment and there is no need to suffer in pain.

Patricia Farrell

Senior Nurse

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Lucy Tait

Assistant Manager

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Allan Matthews

General Dentist with Special Interest in Teeth Straightening

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The procedure
  1. A planned Root Canal therapy can often be completed in a single visit or it may be that an unplanned management (should an emergency stage be needed to manage pain) or a more complex case needs more than one visit.
  2. Each visit is carried out by numbing the area thoroughly, placing a protective rubber shield around the relevant teeth and progressing gently - this makes it easier to breathe. We regularly receive feedback that this is pain free and it is not unusual for a client to be so comfortable that they fall asleep during this.
  3. Once the dead tissue is removed the space left behind can be sealed and a filling material is often placed as a core structure. Further appointments are then generally made for a definitive restoration (for example a crown or an overlay) to be designed and fitted.

Before and after

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What our clients say

Great dentist and great experience. Following my recent dental check I had to get some minor work done. Allan Matthews made me feel so comfortable. He explained everything fully and I felt at home and in safe hands.  It was clear that Allan truly cares about his patients. My treatment was carried out to a very high standard and I am delighted with the result. Always excellent service and friendly staff throughout the practice.

Neeraj and his team have been looking after the family and me for 24 years - and while the younger members of the family have now moved to another country they still come to the practice for their dental care. Very caring and careful and proactive in what they do. And they don't rush to an inappropriate conclusion but take time to assess difficult situations - "judicious inactivity". This is important when you only get one shot at something. We trust the practice.

I was visiting  from the US and broke a tooth.I was given Integrated Dentalcare as a referral from my travel insurance company. I saw Christine Morrell, the dentist,  and was very pleased with the service they provided. They saw me the same morning I called and were very professional and friendly. The receptionist was very cordial and welcoming. I would highly recommend this office for any dental needs you might have while in Edinburgh.

People at Integrated Dentalcare were extremely kind and professional. They solved a dental problem I carried on for several years and it was an (almost) painless process.They dealt with my "dentistphobia" and were very understanding.  It is unbelievable how much my quality of life has improved since my first visit a couple of months ago. Been picky, the only thing I don´t like is the warning in the receipts about charging you if you need to cancel at the last minute. Other than that, 10 points out of 10.

Delighted with the friendly and professional treatment I have received.  I can't thank my dentist  Christine enough for the time she has spent on my teeth.  Every stage of treatment explained fully with great understanding of what patient hopes end result will look like. You can tell Christine takes great pride in her work.  Well done!

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Your questions answered

Can all teeth be root treated successfully?

Root can present at different levels of complexities dependent on the shapes of the root canals. Whilst most treatments can be successfully completed by our dentist the more complex treatments can be referred to a specialist colleague who shares our premises. Between us we have most bases covered for you.

Why can’t root canal problems be treated with antibiotics?

Antibiotics need a blood supply to transport them to affected area. In a root canal problem, the blood supply for the tooth has been destroyed by the infection. Whilst antibiotics may reduce full-body symptoms of fever or fatigue and temporarily reduce the number of bacteria in the surrounding bone, they are unable to remove the reservoir of bacteria within the tooth itself. This is because the antibiotic can't be transported to inside the tooth to eliminate the bacteria. The bacteria and it's toxins will continue to leak into the health jaw bone and blood supply and this why it is important to seal the reservoir off.

Is it better to have the tooth taken out?

This solves one problem by creating another. It would indeed remove the infective tissue but also all of the healthy tooth structure which was supporting your bite. Losing this may result in a heavier load being applied to your remaining teeth and the chances of damage to those teeth increases. Remember, nothing we do lasts forever and the longer we can maintain the tooth itself before having to replace it the longer the space will be filled long term. For further information please watch

Is it painful?

We use local anaesthetic to fully numb the area before starting and take our time to gently treat the tooth. We regularly receive feedback that nothing was felt during the procedure.

I am worried root canals are harmful, is this the case?

Some people will chose not to have root canal treatment carried out to help maintain a dead tooth in their mouth. There may be a worry of leaving a dead tooth in the mouth. For others it may be a concern that teeth are linked via meridian points to other parts of the body and this may have a detrimental effect to their general health. As such removal of the tooth and alternative options for the space can be explored however we would reinforce that we would not carry out any treatment that we believed was harmful to you. Like any treatment, if sufficient care and time is devoted and in the hands of a dentist skilled at undertaking these procedures success rates are very high. However, as with any treatment, complications are possible. It is therefore important to discuss any concerns you may have and we encourage you to ask questions. For more information please watch

Does this process leave a dead tooth behind?

The “dead” part of the tooth in this process is the nerve and blood vessels which were inside the tooth. The structure that remains is no different from before by removing this tissue and we only leave healthy structure behind. For further information please watch

Question not answered here?

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Ready for a new type of dental care?

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0131 225 9093

1 Manor Place Edinburgh EH3 7DH