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What’s a Root Canal Procedure?
Your teeth have three parts; the enamel, the dentin and the soft inside called the pulp. Root canals are procedures that remove the pulp when it becomes infected or damaged. This usually happens when you have deep, untreated decay, a crack that reaches the pulp or you suffered trauma to the tooth. Infected or inflamed pulp can cause an unbearable toothache, making it difficult to concentrate at school or work.
How Would I Know If I Need a Dental Root Canal?
While only a dentist can determine your unique needs, you can be on the lookout for common symptoms of infected pulp, such as:
- Gum swelling
- Facial swelling
- A moderate to severe unprovoked toothache
- Prolonged hot and cold tooth sensitivity
- Pain when chewing or biting down
- Your tooth may darken
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our office to make an appointment with our dentist.
Should I See a Root Canal Dentist for the Procedure?
General dentists often perform root canals, a common procedure. If you begin by seeing a dentist, he or she will refer you to an endodontist if necessary to perform the procedure. Endodontists are dentists who have several years of training after completing dental school in treating the insides of teeth. Typically, endodontists perform root canals on teeth with complicated root systems and provide re-treatment for failed root canals. If you contact our office, we will make sure that you see the appropriate dental professional.
How Does a Dentist Perform a Root Canal?
The procedure is straightforward and is usually completed in one appointment. The basic steps include:
- Your dentist administers a local anesthetic to numb the region. You will not feel pain during the procedure.
- We place a dental dam around your tooth to keep the area clean while your dentist works on the tooth. The dam keeps saliva, which contains bacteria, out of the canals.
- Your dentist has to drill a small hole in your tooth to access the canals. In front teeth, the access hole is drilled in the back; in molars, your dentist will drill the access hole in the chewing surface.
- Your dentist removes the pulp and shapes the canals using special tiny instruments.
- The canals are rinsed with a disinfecting solution and then filled with gutta-percha, a biocompatible, rubbery material.
- You’ll have a temporary filling to seal the tooth. Our dentist will discuss the need for a root canal crown with you.
A tooth that has had a root canal will break more easily. The crown is an important last step in restoring your tooth’s ability to function properly. Until your crown is ready, take care not to bite on hard foods with the affected tooth.
After your procedure, you may have minor discomfort for a day or two after the procedure. An over-the-counter pain reliever should be enough to ease the discomfort. Some patients do not feel any pain at all afterward.
What Do Root Canals Typically Cost?
We calculate your root canal cost after an examination by our dentist and a review of your x-rays. He or she will look at the tooth’s location and condition. Root canals for front teeth are usually less expensive than root canals for molars because molars have more roots. If you consult an endodontist, the procedure usually costs more than it would if you only saw a dentist. If you have dental insurance, we can let you know your out-of-pocket costs. Call our office if you are looking for a dentist for an affordable root canal.
What Kind of Root Canals Are There for Baby Teeth?
Pediatric pulpotomies are not really root canals, although people call them baby root canals, because the dentist only removes the pulp from the pulp chamber in the crown, not from the canals in the roots. It’s an easier procedure for children compared to traditional root canals. A stainless steel crown covers the tooth after the procedure, which should last until the adult tooth emerges.
Apicoectomies are another type of procedure used when retreatment hasn’t worked and the tooth is still infected. Dentists, typically endodontists, perform root end surgery, cutting off the end of the root and resealing it. The surgery involves making a small cut in your gum.
Will a Dental Root Canal Treatment Hurt?
No, root canals are not painful at all. Whereas having infected pulp is painful, often excruciatingly so. It’s tempting to get the tooth pulled, but a missing tooth is expensive to replace. Root canals relieve pain and, in the long run, they are more economical and better for your oral health than having an extraction. Call our office to make an appointment with one of our dentists to learn more about how the procedure can benefit you.