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Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
Root canals treat pulpal disease, which is when an infection reaches the inside of your tooth. This usually happens when you have untreated decay that has reached your tooth’s interior. However, a crack in your tooth, trauma or extensive dental procedures can also cause an infection. To preserve your natural tooth, a dentist will suggest a dental root canal treatment, which removes the infected pulp. With help from a dental crown, your tooth can be as good as new.
What Symptoms Signal the Need for a Dental Root Canal?
Common symptoms include:
- Sensitivity for several minutes after removing the stimulus
- Pain after biting down
- Spontaneous, lingering pain
- Swelling and/or tender gums
- An abscess
- Darkened tooth
If you have one or more of these symptoms, please call our office to make an appointment with our root canal dentist.
Should I Get a Root Canal from a Dentist or Endodontist?
We suggest you see a dentist first, he or she will tell you if you need the expertise of an endodontist. Your procedure will be less expensive if performed by a dentist. Generally, dentists perform routine root canals and endodontists, specialists in treating dental pulp, perform complex root canals or retreatments of failed root canals.
How Is the Root Canal Procedure Done?
There are multiple steps in the 60 to 90-minute procedure, including:
- You receive Novocain or another local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area.
- We will isolate your tooth with a rubber dam, which allows the tooth your dentist works on to poke through. The dam keeps saliva from entering the canals since the purpose of a root canal is to remove contaminants from the canals.
- Your dentist will create an access hole to work through in either your tooth’s chewing surface or the back of your tooth so he or she can reach the canals.
- Your dentist will remove the pulp from the canals, shape them into smooth, hollow tubes and then irrigate them with a special solution to flush away debris.
- Next, our dentist fills the canals with gutta-percha and seal them with dental cement.
- Your dentist puts a temporary filling in the access cavity. You will return in a week or two for your root canal crown. After the procedure, your tooth can become brittle; it needs a crown to restore its full functionality. In the meantime, avoid chewing anything but soft food on the side where you have the temporary filling.
After your procedure, you can expect minor discomfort for a day or two, although many patients report no post-treatment pain at all. Your dentist can suggest an OTC pain reliever.
What’s the Average Root Canal Cost?
There isn’t an average cost for root canals as each patient has unique needs. We base your cost on the tooth affected; front teeth are the least expensive to treat while molars, which have more roots, are more expensive. We also base your cost on your tooth’s condition and what our dentist has to do to prepare the tooth for the procedure. Root canals performed by dentists are less expensive than those performed by endodontists. Your dental insurance coverage will also affect your final fee. We can help you estimate your out-of-pocket costs. Dental insurance providers typically cover a percentage of the cost of endodontic procedures. Call our office to arrange an appointment and our dentist can let you know your estimated cost after an examination.
Are There Many Types of Root Canals?
Besides traditional root canals, there are also apicoectomies and pediatric pulpotomies. If re-treatment of a procedure fails, an apicoectomy is a way to save the tooth if it is still infected. A dentist makes an incision in the gum and cuts the tip of the root off and seals it. If you have a crown on the tooth, it’s still possible to do the procedure. Since an apicoectomy is a surgical procedure, it is usually performed by an endodontist.
Pediatric pulpotomies are baby teeth root canals, although a dentist only removes the pulp from the crown of the affected tooth, leaving the pulp in the canals. The procedure saves baby teeth as a placeholder for the adult tooth and relieves your child’s pain. The tooth has a crown put on, which will keep the tooth functional until it falls out on its own.
Are Root Canals Really Painful?
No, in TV and in movies, root canals are depicted as painful procedures to avoid at all costs. The truth is, root canals are virtually painless. If you’re in pain now, the pain will stop if you have the procedure. Call our office to make an appointment and we promise to make you as comfortable as possible. We want to save your tooth.