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 Rachel Heaton 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:  

Smileworks Liverpool
Based on 1425 reviews
30 years of being scared of the dentist, never again after visiting Smileworks. I’ve had consultations elsewhere and never went ahead as I didn’t feel comfortable. Sefa took me through my consultation and looked after me right the way through,... brilliant. Everyone from the receptionists, Emma my hygienist, Patri and Joanna for my root canal, Sefa and Martin for my composite bonding, everyone brilliant, but most of all thanks to Sefa, now I can smile more
Chris Short
Chris Short
21:06 29 Feb 24
Huge shoutout to the dynamic duo, Dr. Patri and Joanna! 🎩✨ Just had my debut in the world of root canals, and let me tell you, it was a blockbuster hit – way smoother than any filling saga I've ever endured. I came in with a suitcase... full of worries, but thanks to your magic hands (are you sure you're not part-time wizards?), I felt as comfy as if I was lounging in my living room. Your skill and care turned a daunting dental drama into a walk in the park. Hats off to you both for not only being professionals but also for being the kind of magicians who make dental fears disappear. Regards, Miroslav (your newest fan).read more
Rodis Wall
Rodis Wall
00:26 18 Feb 24
Smileworks impresses with a perfect blend of professionalism and warmth. Dr. Patri's and Joanna's expertise and friendly demeanor create a positive atmosphere, making dental visits surprisingly enjoyable.Underwent a root canal treatment at... Smileworks recently and the experience exceeded expectations. Dr. Patri's expertise and calming approach ensured a remarkably smooth procedure.Highly recommended for excellent care with a personal more
Sebastian Boros
Sebastian Boros
19:17 16 Feb 24

Root canal cost


Here are the costs for your root canal treatment in 2024. 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.

These fees are for the root canal procedure and not a new tooth if one is required.


  • Front Tooth from £560
  • Premolar from £610
  • Molar from £584
  • Root Canal Retreatment from £800
  • Premolar from £725
  • Molar from £750

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 understand some work can be expensive. We help you pay with 0%APR finance options.  Get an instant result in our office or at home. We offer patient finance through Medenta Finance (subject to age and status, minimum spend applies)


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.

where to find us

To find us, click the map below or Google ‘root canal near me’.



  • 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.