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What Are Root Canal Treatments?
Have you just heard you need a root canal? Do not worry. While the procedure sounds intimidating, it is a painless treatment which can preserve your tooth. Millions of Americans have root canals each year to help relieve the agonizing pain that frequently accompanies teeth with inflamed or infected pulp from deep decay, trauma, cracks that reach the center of your tooth, or repeated dental procedures. The procedure involves removing the pulp, the soft tissue inside your tooth containing the nerves, with a filling.
What Symptoms Indicate I Need a Root Canal?
If you have any of the following symptoms, the pulp inside your tooth may be diseased:
- Persistent tooth pain
- Pain that spreads from the tooth to the jaw or ear
- Gum swelling and/or tender
- Prolonged sensitivity to temperature
- Facial swelling
- Pain when biting on the tooth
- Tooth discoloration
- Your tooth appears swollen
If you have one or more of these symptoms, please call our office to schedule an appointment. Our dentist will order x-rays, perform an exam and talk to you about the specific symptoms you’re experiencing.
Should a Root Canal Dentist or Endodontist Perform My Treatment?
General dentists often have extensive experience performing root canals. When one of our dentists encounters a complex root system or a patient needing re-treatment, he or she will have them consult with an endodontist. Endodontists are specialists who have additional training in treating diseases of the tooth pulp. Most individuals see a dentist first as an endodontist’s expertise and specialized equipment, which comes with a higher fee, isn’t necessary in many cases. If you phone our office for an appointment, we will make sure you have the most appropriate dental professional treating you.
What Happens During a Dental Root Canal?
Our dentist usually completes the following steps in one appointment lasting one to two hours:
- Your dentist administers a local anesthetic to cause you to lose feeling in the tooth and gum the area, which prevents you from feeling any pain.
- We place a protective sheet in your mouth to isolate the affected tooth. This keeps saliva out, which could re-infect the canals after your dentist disinfects them.
- After verifying that the area is numb, your dentist will drill a small access hole in your tooth to reach the canals.
- The pulp is cleaned out and the canals are shaped to ensure all the bacteria can be rinsed out.
- Once the canals are flushed with a disinfecting solution, our dentist fills them with an inert material, usually gutta-percha.
- The access hole is closed with a temporary filling. Before your root canal treatment, you’ll learn about the restoration you will need, usually a root canal crown. The crown is essential to give the tooth strength. Until you have your crown, avoid placing any undue stress on the tooth by chewing on the opposite side of your mouth.
You may have slight pain or tenderness after the procedure. Your dentist will suggest an OTC pain reliever to take to alleviate it. The discomfort is minor since the tooth has no nerves left.
How Much Does a Root Canal Procedure Cost?
Your root canal cost depends on the condition of your tooth and which tooth needs the work. Molars have more canals; the treatment fee is typically more than it is for a front tooth. Most dental insurance plans offer some coverage for root canals. Having a general dentist perform the procedure is less expensive than having an endodontist perform it. Call our office to make an appointment and our dentist can assess your situation and provide you with your anticipated cost.
What Types of Root Canals Are Available?
Most of our patients have standard dental root canals. There are apicoectomies, also known as root end surgeries, which are typically suggested after failed root canals. Over 95 percent of root canals are successful and patients have a functioning tooth for the rest of their life. Pediatric pulpotomies are technically not root canals. Dentists generally perform the procedure on decayed baby teeth to remove diseased pulp from the crown, not the roots. A stainless steel crown is usually enough to save the tooth until the adult tooth appears. If you or your child needs one of these procedures, our dentist will go over the procedure in detail during your consultation.
Where Can I Get a Dental Root Canal Treatment?
Call our office to make an appointment and one of our skilled dentists can evaluate your tooth to see if we can save it. The treatment is virtually painless and you’ll have a faster recovery than if you had opted for an extraction. After treatment, your tooth can function for the rest of your life. Don’t suffer with tooth pain when relief is just a phone call away.