Endodontics, or root canal treatment, is necessary to save teeth which have developed problems with the dental pulp, or tooth “nerve”. This part of the tooth can become inflamed or infected through decay, trauma, cracks or repeated dental procedures such  as deep fillings.

A root canal problem can lead to toothache and a dental abscess. Endodontic treatment aims to remove the source of infection inside the tooth so that it can be saved. The alternative is removal of the tooth and either accept the space or replace the tooth with a denture, bridge or implant.

Dr Ralph Pickup provides endodontic treatment on referral. He has a postgraduate qualification in endodontology and regularly attends courses in the UK and internationally to keep up to date in the subject.

The practice is equipped with state of the art endodontic technology, including a Zeiss operating microscope and cone beam CT scanner.

Patients referred by their dentist will usually be seen for a consultation, where the tooth or teeth will be examined and x-rays taken. Dr Pickup can then explain the various options, what treatment involves and the expected chance of keeping the tooth.

Modern endodontic treatment can save teeth with a very high success rate. This is around 85 – 95%, depending on the health of the tooth and extent of infection beforehand. Re-treatment or minor surgical procedures can often save teeth where the initial treatment has failed. Our referral service includes saving teeth where this has happened.

Treatment is usually carried out over one or two visits. A local anaesthetic is used so that treatment is painless. Simple painkillers may be necessary for a few days after treatment. Sedation is also available to help where people are particularly anxious or phobic regarding dental treatment.

Once endodontic treatment has been completed, the tooth will need to be protected with a filling or crown. A filling may be all that is necessary after endodontic treatment in front teeth or if the tooth already has a satisfactory crown.

Teeth at the back of the mouth usually require a crown (cap) or similar restoration if not already present. Before doing this, the tooth needs to be built up with a filling material. This “core” filling material is included as part of your treatment so that the tooth is protected and sealed permanently immediately after the root-filling.

A review appointment is then arranged a few months after treatment. At this visit the tooth is checked and an x-ray taken.

If you would like more information about endodontic treatment or arrange an appointment for a consultation, please contact the practice.

Please click on the British Endodontic Society logo below for more information about root canal treatment.

Dr Ralph Pickup

Dr Pickup qualified in 1997 and worked in hospital and general practice in Newcastle before joining the practice in 2002. He became a partner in 2006. His areas of special interests are endodontics (root canal  treatment) and conscious sedation to manage