Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment


When people ask us, ‘what is a root canal’ we usually tell them “it’s how we’re going to save your tooth”



Root canal treatment is sometimes the best and only way of saving a damaged tooth.  And here at Smileworks we love teeth and don’t like extracting them if we can help it.  The proper name for these types of treatments is endodontics – and you may hear them described this way or as root fillings or root treatment.  



A root canal is the name dentists give to the procedure of removing infected material from the pulp-filled cavity or root of a tooth if it is damaged by trauma or becomes infected by decay. Cleaning out the cavity with a bleach-like substance and replacing the infected material with inert material saves the tooth and can be done easily by a specialist endodontist or general dentist here in Liverpool.    



A successful root canal will:





Sometimes teeth get damaged by trauma or infected by decay.  This can be as a result of poor oral hygiene. Bacteria gets through cracks in the enamel and deep down into the tooth root.  This is the part of the tooth that is ‘alive’ and is susceptible to infection just like any part of your body.  It’s also the part that can cause you pain.  

Causes of infection


So how does the root of the tooth become infected when it’s below the gum line?  Here’s the structure of a tooth and the process of root canal treatment:    


Pulpitis and root canal therapy


Tooth decay, broken or failing crowns or even fillings that have failed or fallen out can cause you to need endodontic treatment.  Bacteria gets in the little cracks and fissures causes painful infections. Recently placed fillings can cause the nerve of the tooth to flare up.  You are more likely to need root canal treatment or get an abscess if you:  


Here at Smileworks we are conservative dentists.  This means that we don’t like drilling or filing your teeth if we can help it.  The reason for this is that as soon as we touch your tooth with the dentists drill, the chances of it failing and requiring subsequent treatment or even removal are dramatically increased.



This is why Braces and adult orthodontics are a better idea than traditional veneers if have the choice and composite bonding is better than porcelain veneers where appropriate as the damage to the individual tooth or teeth is likely to be less. 

What is a root canal? 

The root canal procedure involves completely numbing the area and then making a tiny hole in the tooth.  A special file is used to carefully removing the infected material from inside the tooth.  This is the nerve or ‘pulp’ that is causing you the pain. 



Because of the numbing you will not feel a thing.  Many people complain that their root canals hurt and this makes here at Smileworks feel very sad.  The only reason a root canal should hurt is if it’s rushed.  And what we have plenty of here at Smileworks is time.  Some molars are innovated by up to six different nerves and our dentists get seriously creative about making sure you won’t feel a thing.    



Once you’re numb we can get all the infected material cleaned out the space and then irrigate it or flush it out with a cleaning solution.  This is typically a chemical called chlorhexidine (contained in some mouthwash) or a weak hypochlorite solution.  And what do we know about hypochlorite?  It kills all known germs, dead.  So this will give your tissue a good chance of recovering.    



The space is then filled in with a special material and the hole is filled in and your tooth is restored to it’s healthy, pain-free and functional old self.  The reason the space is filled in is because any space is liable to fill back up with bacteria.  So we use a rubber-like material to fill the space so nothing can get in and cause you any more problems.  


 Dr Patricia has an average aggregate rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 based on 49 reviews from GoogleTrustpilot and Facebook.  Here are some of our favourites:


I needed to get two root canal treatments. As I never had this treatment done before, I went in a bit nervous. Patri explained to me the entire process, step by step, and when it came to the treatment days, Patri and Jess could not have done a... better job. It was a long process, but they made sure I was not feeling any pain during the entire time and they saved my teeth from completely dying. I am glad I chose this more
Daniel Kaasikas
Daniel Kaasikas
15:09 02 Nov 20
I think I have pretty much tried the menu at Smileworks! I've had aesthetics with Dr MJ, a root canal from Patri and monthly peels with Hannah. Every treatment has been an absolute delight, it feels as if I'm coming to see my friends to have a... treatment. Every member of staff is friendly and professional, and the covid safety measures in place are second to none.And the results are amazing!Dr MJ really takes time to understand what you are looking for and isn't afraid to tell you what you don't need either!My skin is now the best it ever has been thanks to my monthly peels from Hannah, and I cant wait to try more :)And my root canal was completely amazing, it required several appointments, but was clear how thorough Dr Patri was being. The end result is perfect, and didn't take long to recover from at all - I even did a conference call with work a few hours after!I'm booked in for several more treatments at Smileworks and I cant wait come back each more
Joanna Nixon
Joanna Nixon
10:58 20 Oct 20
Came in for today as a new patient for a checkup. Was seen by the lovely Rebecca and Savannah who both put me at ease and were incredibly friendly and cheery (especially given all the extra procedures due to Covid)I had to swap rooms to get an... x-ray and the chair was wiped before and after and it all felt very ‘Covid safe’ because hygiene really was 10/10.They were very thorough and explained everything they were doing, plus took photos of my teeth for my patient file (something I’ve never had done in other private or NHS dentists). Was given recommendations for a toothbrush, tips and advice for how to look after my teeth whilst showing me the photos of my own mouth.Recommended a hygienist appointment and Smileworks managed to get me in later the same day.The second appointment was exactly the same in terms of friendliness and everything was explained beforehand. Regular pauses to check I was still okay (I was) and that I was okay to continue. My teeth feel squeaky clean now!Honestly thrilled to have found this new dentist and will be sticking here in future.Reception staff lovely and friendly also!Thank youEDIT: I have had a root canal done previously with another dentist (around 7 years ago) and Rebecca saw this on my X-ray and told me she would speak to one of the other team members who specialises in nerve treatment to make sure it was still doing alright. I had totally forgotten this until Smileworks rang me this morning to let me know that she had followed up and had the x-ray checked out and all was well. I’m honestly so impressed with the attentiveness and aftercare Smileworks give.Thank you (again)read more
Lois Tyler
Lois Tyler
10:35 20 Oct 20
After being in severe pain, I was booked in to see Dr. Patri who immediately diagnosed my issues and gave me all my options of treatment. Dr. Patri was very professional and caring. She immediately got me out of pain. My appointment was relaxing,... pain free and she was able to save my tooth with root canal treatment. Thank you Patri, Nicola and Kerry for the amazing service. I would definitely recommend Smileworks to my friends and more
Ste Glover
Ste Glover
19:04 18 Oct 20
Having a Smile makeover, by the incredible Smileworks team. Braces and teeth straightened by MJ , Inlay and composites by Clare , Scale and Polish by Zoë and today a root canal by Patri and Jess , brilliant friendly professional practice, can’t... recommend them enough 😁read more
Jayne Peters
Jayne Peters
19:30 16 Jan 20
After hearing stories about how painful root canal can be i was a nervous Wreck however i can honestly say after having it done with smileworks today its was the complete Opposite and nothing like the stories everyone tells you.Patri & Eva are... Miracle workers from the minute i sat in the chair they made sure i was comfy an most importantly made sure my mouth was numb so i could not feel a thing for the whole process.100% say if i ever need another root canal ill be straight back to smileworksread more
Stefan Umbers
Stefan Umbers
20:35 10 Sep 19
I recently had a root canal treatment done by Patri and Ewa and it was absolutely fantastic. I used to be extremely nervous at the dentist and the thought of having this procedure done had scared me senseless.The staff at smileworks are all super... friendly and had a great deal of patience for me. They explained each step of the process and made sure I was comfortable from the moment I got in the chair. I couldn't believe the whole experience was completely pain free even after the anesthetic had worn off. This is no exaggeration and I am still surprised at how painless it was.Patri and Ewa have done an outstanding job and I highly recommend anyone to visit this place for any kind of dental work even if you are anxious. They have changed my mind about dentistry and put every other dentist Ive had previously to shame. I will definitely be going back to get the rest of my teeth done here. Thank you!!read more
Terence Callaghan
Terence Callaghan
11:49 08 Sep 19
Wow. Called for an emergency tooth appointment last week. Was seen by the ‘amazing’ Patri the same day. The welcome upon arrival from the team was just super and they made me feel very welcomed and also very relaxed (which was reassuring given the... toothache) Patri has since then seen me again to perform root canal and it was a whole other level to my past experiences. The whole team and service in here are streets ahead not only in expertise but customer service and attention to detail. Can’t recommend enough. Thank you 🤩read more
Helen Caters
Helen Caters
18:09 06 Sep 19
Best dentist and customer service and aftercare ever. I have had many things done recently: filling with Claire, root canal treatment with Patricia and lovely hygiene appointment with Eva. They are all amazing, professional, always smiling and give... you all you can ask for. I wish every dental practice was like this one! I would recommend it to everyone!read more
Ania K
Ania K
16:11 27 Aug 19
Rebecca did a fantastic job on my fillings as did Patri on a successful root canal and crown. The staff are super friendly, helpful and professional, couldn't recommend this place any more. Thanks guys!
James Wynne
James Wynne
14:28 09 Aug 19

Root canal cost


Here are the costs for your root canal treatment in 2021. Remember the reason you are paying is because here at Smileworks we will make sure we take the time to get you numb and do the work using the most advanced materials and machinery available. Dr Rowland-Warmann likens root fillings to cleaning out the cupboard under the stairs through the keyhole, in the dark. Root canal treatments require attention, skill and are often complex treatments so they need to be planned and managed accordingly. So microscopes, special lights, CBCT scanners and apex locators are all a good idea. And then there’s time. Often the difference-maker between pain and failure and happiness and success.


  • Front tooth upper or lower | £550
  • Front tooth upper or lower (re-treat) | £650
  • Premolar upper or lower | £550
  • Premolar upper or lower (re-treat) | £650
  • Molar upper or lower | £600
  • Molar upper or lower (re-treat) | £700
  • Re-root Anterior (front) Tooth | £450
  • Re-root Incisor Tooth | £450
  • Re-root Premolar Tooth | £500
  • Re-root Molar | £500

If you require more than one tooth then just multiply these prices by the amount of root fillings you need or want. Remember that doing nothing is always an option, as is extraction and other less expensive things. So come in to see us and get the full picture.
These are guide prices – if the root canal is particularly complex (such as extremely curved roots, fractured instruments or other complex pathology), fees may vary or you may require a referral to specialist endodontist where the fees will be substantially more. To be clear MJ is a dentist with a special interest in endodontics and not a specialist endodontist.
Fees are quoted at your consultation – here at Smileworks we don’t like surprises so you will know precisely how much you’ll be paying before any work is undertaken.


We want you to be able to comfortably afford your treatment and appreciate some work can be expensive.  Pay with 0% finance and get an instant result from the comfort of your own home.

We offer patient finance through Tabeo. Click the link to calculate your monthly payments and get a quote.


finance calculator



root canals myths


I can control the pain with strong painkillers:

Strong painkillers will help in the short term but they will not fix the underlying issue and there is a strong likelihood that you may become addicted to some painkillers that will, in the end, cause you far more pain and suffering than even the worst visit to the dentist.    



It’s ok, I’m going to ask to be sedated:

If you are an extremely anxious patient and concerned about your treatment, you may elect to be sedated for your root canal procedure.  We can arrange this for you; we can discuss the fees involved in this at your consultation.  Usually the scariest part of your root canal is listening to Tom Jones for the duration of your appointment (if it’s Dr Rowland-Warmann treating you.  Read some of our reviews and see what people usually feel after their treatments with us. You’re in safe hands and we will make sure you are calm and comfortable throughout your appointment.    



I don’t want my nerve taking out or damaging:

By the time you need a root canal, the nerve is past saving and needs to be removed along with the bacteria and inflamed material.  So ‘saving the nerve’ is impossible.   For more myths see the FAQ section below.    


  • How do I know if I need a root canal?
  • You’ll be in pain and have swelling and your tooth might feel hot or ache or just be downright excruciatingly painful. Your dentist may have recommended you need a root canal also.
  • Are root canals safe?
  • When all the correct procedure are followed and everything is in place, root canal treatment is relatively safe. The only real risk is practices not using an instrument called a ‘rubber dam’. If your dentist has never used this when you’ve had a root canal then you should change dentist, because they are not taking safety seriously and do not care about you. If a file gets accidentally dropped down your throat and you start coughing, can be aspirated (breathed in) and get lodged within your lung, requiring surgery for its removal in extreme cases. So rubber dams are a big deal around here and mandatory in the completion of root canals.
  • Can it fail?
  • Root canal treatments can fail for a number of reasons: - Bacteria remaining in the system - Fractured instruments - Inadequate previous root filling - Perforations of the previous root canal system - Resorption due to trauma – or for no apparent reason - Leaking coronal restorations or leaking crowns leading to reinfection
  • Root canals and crowns
  • If an abscess is big enough and causes facial swelling then it can make you systemically unwell (so cause a fever). If a tooth is throbbing it can cause a headache. Lower teeth can make you seem like you’ve got toothache in your upper teeth and the nerves radiate in all directions causing confusing and often worrying ‘referred pain’.
  • What if I have pain after root canal?
  • Initially there may be some mild discomfort after the procedure. This might feel like a bruise (from the anesthetic) and the area will feel tender. This is fairly common and can be managed with the same painkillers you’d take for a headache and will subside after a day or two. Severe pain and associated swelling a couple of days after the procedure may occur. This can be a flare-up from bugs that lived inside the tooth that have been jiggled about by the treatment. This is called a phoenix abscess. It’s best to make an appointment to see us. The third post-treatment pain type is very severe pain and rapid swelling. Hypersensivity to some of the chemicals used to clean the inside of the tooth can cause this and you must visit A&E or go straight back to your dentist (or Smileworks). Dr Rowland-Warmann has extensively studied the pathology and incidence of such occurrences and you can read about them here. But be aware they are extremely uncommon.
  • How long does a root canal take?
  • At Smileworks a root canal appointment 90 minutes and if it’s more complex, You may need further appointments, which are included in your cost quoted at the start.
  • Are antibiotics a substitute for a root canal?
  • Antibiotics are not a substitute for root canal treatment. They do not make an abscess go away they suppress it and put it to sleep. Then it will reappear at a later date. Antibiotics will reduce the acute phase of an abscess but will not remove the bacteria from the inside of a tooth.
  • Root canal NHS vs Private
  • This is always a tricky subject and one that’s been covered already. Root canals can be clinically challenging to treat and complex in nature. So the thing that is of paramount significance is time. Practitioners in private practice are not necessarily better than those in the NHS. However, many NHS practitioners feel that due to the constraints placed on them by the NHS (including time constraints and the need to hit targets) that they would sometimes not able to allocate the kind of time to complete a root canal in the same way a private practitioner might be able to. The other factor is budgets and equipment. In private practice we have a CBCT scanner for the diagnosis of complex and difficult cases. Private practices may have more ready access to gadgets that make the endodontic procedure more streamlined. We have made significant investments to get you in fast and treated effectively. Pain management In endodontics is a huge deal - and that takes time. And truly conscientious dentists will agree with this sentiment.
  • What happens to my nerve?
  • The nerve is removed. Your nerve lives in the tooth which is like a little hard tube. If the nerve or pulp dies or becomes infected it will increase in size and swell. This is what produces the pain and throbbing. The nerve doesn’t always have to be dead to be infected. It’s usually an acute bacterial infection that causes the pain. The inside of the tooth is cleaned with specialized instruments and made bigger and cleaned out with a cleaning solution and filed with a rubber-like compound that is biocompatible and is called gutta percha. The principle is that a hollow tube can store bacteria but a filled one cant. This has the effect of eradicating bacteria.