• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

UK SAVING TEETH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN via endodontics (root canal treatment)

Re: UK SAVING TEETH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN via endodontics (root canal treatment)

Where I'm at this is the norm. I am unable to remember when I have removed tooth that could have been saved with the exception of a few where an implant made more sense.
Re: UK SAVING TEETH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN via endodontics (root canal treatment)

Where I'm at this is the norm. I am unable to remember when I have removed tooth that could have been saved with the exception of a few where an implant made more sense.

Yes for sure. Root canal therapy doesn't seem to have been a very widespread treatment in UK until the late 1980s when lots of mainly experienced dentists opted out of the NHS contract first of all in London. I think they were always taught at dental school but not put into practice that often except in private sector, plus they had that bad reputation in American film one-liners.

I never knew anyone who had had one until I had mine (private dentist), then a couple of relatives said 'Oh I had one(NHS) but it didn't work'. My sister got one done while at College in USA (deep south - probably an early Medicaid Mill lol) and said it hurt like hell so she was a bit miffed when she heard my UK one was pretty tolerable.

However it is not as bad as it seems, as back then dental care was 'free at point of use' or extremely cheap to most people and many saw their dentist every 6 months, got timely amalgam fillings and so wouldn't very often get to root canal treatment stage. It would be the dentist-avoiders who had the bad toothaches and they were likely 'after an extraction' anyway and the rushed NHS dentist wasn't often going to talk them out of that.
I think as in my case if you were a regular attender (=valued your dental health=good patient) your dentist NHS or private would have been keener on pulling out the stops to save your tooth e.g. mine stayed late on a Friday to help me out of pain as he had sent me away saying I was clenching earlier in the week. He spent 2 hours on the tooth over 2 appts. I still have the tooth - it has been retreated by an endo but he did right by me then all those years ago as far as he was able with no microscope.

Now the situation is that NHS dentists can do endo but they tend to be busy and are not adequately remunerated for it and almost all the endodontists are in the private sector or dental school environment; and your average UK citizen is simply unaware how easy and painfree it can be to save your tooth BUT they have to be willing to pay for it as an NHS endo by a General dentist will likely be an inferior product in many cases.

I am sure the British Royal Family with their Harley Street dentists have availed themselves of root canal therapy for many a decade. It's really just that the NHS offering didn't prioritise it. It doesn't prioritise dental hygiene even now. It really can be very basic. No implants on NHS for instance but then you don't want the newly-qualified placing those.
NHS medicine is much more comprehensive in comparison despite/because of having even less of a profit motive in it. Medical GPs are sort of salaried. They are not paid per procedure.
UK dentists don't restrain kids in papoose boards though - so it is not all bad.

I think you can get the best and the worst of care on both sides of the pond. UK NHS is in many ways a training ground for the newly qualified and has to be a better option than dental mills but I am not personally planning on giving up private dentistry anytime soon. I was training fodder for long enough lol.
Last edited:
Re: UK SAVING TEETH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN via endodontics (root canal treatment)

[broken link removed]

The American Association of Endodontists also runs a Root Canal Awareness campaign. Next one in March 2012.
Last edited by a moderator:
Re: UK SAVING TEETH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN via endodontics (root canal treatment)

Realistic but depressing - an NHS root canal only expected to last up to 10 years by the NHS Choice's website's own admission.


To treat the infection in the root canal, the bacteria need to be removed. This can be achieved by:
removing the tooth (extraction)
attempting to save the tooth by removing the bacteria from the root canal system (root canal treatment)........

Root canal treatment should not be painful because local anaesthetic is usually used. The procedure is usually very successful and should be no more unpleasant than having a filling. In about 9 out of 10 cases, a tooth can survive for up to 10 years after root canal treatment.END QUOTE
Re: UK SAVING TEETH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN via endodontics (root canal treatment)


Interesting campaign and interesting when compared to what it's like here in Norway.

Everyone here gets RCT. While Americans and probably brits too have teeth that are missing or can be taken out, the Norwegian's teeth are stuck.

Dental care in Norway is all paid out of pocket by the patient except in some special cases, and periodontal treatment is subsidized.

It's generally lower priced here than in the US, probably because it's not insurance financed. Tort law is also very different here than in the states.

Dentists here always recommend RCT, even to the point of not giving the other options. This is not always appropriate, in some cases the patient can't afford RTC and should be given less expensive options. These options should be given without the patient having to ask, because no one wants to admit that they just don't have that much money.

It's mentioned in Principles for informed consent that the patient should be given all the options and all the information they need to make their own decisions about their teeth. That should include options that would mean referring out the patient to a specialist, or offering a more affordable option.

Maybe patients need to be informed directly since dentists don't do a good enough job with that.

Surely it's best to remove as little of the patient as possible.

Re: UK SAVING TEETH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN via endodontics (root canal treatment)

It seems so weird to me, living in the US, that saving a tooth wouldn't be the first priority. My grandmother has teeth that had RC's a couple of decades ago that are holding up. Her crowns wear out eventually but the tooth is still good and is just recrowned.

A tooth can't always be saved, and it takes a skilled dentist to know when not to do it. I have a tooth that just broke. My teeth are more fragile then most. My dentist sat down and had a look at it and how strong it is. He told me we could try an RC, large filling and crown but there was no guarantee that my tooth would withstand it or if the crown would be stable in the long run. The bill to save the tooth would be the same price as an implant or even slightly more. He said to him it wouldn't be his first decision to spend all that money on this particular tooth, I have stronger teeth that could benefit from all that expense and his personal choice, if it was him, would be to have it removed. I appreciate his honesty and that he took the time to explain everything and the complications while I think about what to do. It is rather distressing to think that people aren't being given these options at all.

It's rather saddening that these campaigns have to happen in the first place. On both sides of the pond dental care seems to be the lowest priority. Insurance over here is rather skimpy with all kinds of limitations. My grandparent's, for example, have a decent policy but after we compared it was found that with my dental discount plan I was saving the same (sometimes even more) and it's already paid for itself plus some.

The US dental system has a lot of problems in cost. A lot of people over here need dental care and struggle to afford it. But we do have discount programs and carecredit. The NHS has general care at least available, but from what I've heard specialists are hard to come by. It sounds like a lot of people are being shuffled through like a mill and not getting all the options. It's a shame we can't take the best from both systems and combine them to provide better care to everyone.