Kate de Groot
DwSI in Endodontics
BDS [Lond]
PGDip Endo [UCL Eastman]
GDC No. 78112

I qualified as a dentist in 2000 from the Royal London Hospital and have been working in General Practice for the last 15 years. I am a Dentist with a special interest in Endodontics [root canal treatment].

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What is Endodontics?

Blausen ToothAnatomy

The word "Endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth. Like many medical terms it is Greek.

It is often referred to simply as 'root canal treatment'.

As a Dentist with a special interest in root canal treatment I am trained to perform a wide range of treatments which are shown in the panel at the right.

I do all my root canal treatments using a global dental operating microscope.


The American Association of Endodontists redesignated root canal treatment as non-surgical endodontic treatment. During non-surgical root canal treatment the infected and dead pulp tissue [connective tissue inside the root canal of teeth, which includes blood and nerve tissue] is removed. The canal system is then shaped and irrigated to remove bacteria from within the root canal system. The canal system is then filled and sealed and the tooth is then restored. Most back teeth will require a full cuspal coverage restoration in the form of an onlay or a full coverage crown restoration.

Not all root canal treatments are successful and this means that there can be persistent post treatment endodontic disease.  Endodontic failures can be attributable to inadequacies in shaping, cleaning and obturation [ filling ] or re-infection of the root canal system when the coronal seal is lost, normally from a leaking or missing filling or crown restoration.  The goal will be to remove the materials from the root canal space and address any deficiencies or repair defects that may exist within the root canal space.  The root canal system will then be shaped and cleaned again and then re filled.  There is always a small chance approximately 6-7% that some cases will still require further treatment in the form of surgery.

Some root treated teeth will contain a post.  When endodontic treatment is failing, the need arises to remove a post to facilitate successful non surgical re-treatment.  Ultrasonic devices and specific post removal kits are used.  During root canal treatment very small files are used to help shape and clean the root canal system.  Sometimes these files can separate and depending on where this happens in the canal they can sometimes be removed.

Vital pulp therapy is defined as a treatment which aims to preserve and maintain pulp tissue that has been compromised but not destroyed by caries [decay] or trauma or restorative procedures. In young patients it can be very important in immature teeth where the end of the root [apex] is not fully developed, to maintain the pulp tissue. The aim of vital pulp therapy is to maintain healthy pulp tissue by eliminating bacteria from the dentin-pulp complex. There are several different treatment options for vital pulp therapy including, direct pulp capping, indirect pulp capping, partial pulpotomy and full pulpotomy. These procedures rely upon an accurate assessment of the pulp status, and careful management of the remaining pulp tissue.

Dental trauma refers to trauma [ injury ] to the teeth and/or periodontium [ gums, periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and nearby soft tissues such as the lips, tongue etc...].  The correct management of dental trauma is important and requires a complete and correct diagnosis of all soft and hard tissue injuries.  Mouthguards are advisable during a lot of sports to help prevent dental trauma.  There is a link to the Dental Trauma guide in the useful resources section.  The Dental Trauma Guide is an evidence-based and up-to-date resource to aid management of dental trauma.

Teeth can either be whitened externally or internally.  Sometimes a tooth will discolour as a result of trauma or following root canal treatment.  Some cases respond very well to tooth whitening procedures with 16% carbide peroxide gel.  This can in some situations mean that the tooth can be treated very conservatively as a veneer or crown is not required to disguise the discolouration.  There is a link to the BDBS [British Dental Bleaching Society] here.