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What Are Root Canal Treatments?
Root canals preserve teeth with damaged or decayed pulp from deep, untreated decay, a crack in the tooth or trauma. The virtually painless procedure is an alternative to having the tooth pulled. Your tooth pain will stop forever and you will still have your natural tooth.
What Are Signs I Need a Root Canal?
The signs your tooth has infected or damaged pulp include:
Spontaneous pain intense enough to wake you in the middle of the night
- Swelling in the gum near the tooth
- Facial swelling on the side of the affected tooth
- Hot and cold sensitivity
- Pain when you bite down
- Tooth discoloration
- Your face feels hot near the affected tooth
- Visible tooth swelling
You may not have any symptoms, although, most of our patients come in with a toothache so bad that they know something is wrong. If you are in pain, call us to make an appointment. We’ll see you as soon as we can and determine what is wrong. Don’t wait as the tooth will not get better on its own.
Do I Have to See a Specialist for a Root Canal Procedure?
General dentists train to perform the procedure in dental school. Our dentist is experienced in root canals; however, he or she will send patients with complex cases, or patients who need re-treatment to an endodontist. Endodontists have several years of training after dental school in treating the inside of teeth. If you call us for an appointment, we’ll assess your needs and then make sure you see the appropriate provider.
What Are the Steps in a Dental Root Canal?
The basic steps are as follows:
- Your dentist starts by giving you a local anesthetic that will numb the area. You won’t feel pain during the procedure.
- We will isolate your tooth with a rubber dam, which keeps saliva out of the canals while our dentist is working. Saliva contains bacteria, which can cause the treatment to fail if it gets in the canals after they have been irrigated.
- Once he or she is certain that the area is numb, your dentist will drill a tiny access hole in the chewing surface of your tooth to reach the canals. When our dentist works on front teeth, the access hole is usually drilled in the back of your tooth. Otherwise, the access cavity is drilled into the chewing surface of your tooth.
- Our dentist will clean out the canals and then he or she shapes them. The canals have to be smooth so bacteria has nowhere to hide.
- Our dentist fills the canals with an inert material, cements the canals shut and seals the access hole with a temporary filling.
- You’ll learn why you should have a crown to protect the tooth. You’ll return in several weeks when your custom root canal crown is ready to place over the tooth.
This process takes about one to two hours depending on the number of canals.
How Much Does a Root Canal Dentist Charge?
Your root canal cost depends on whether a dentist or an endodontist performs the procedure. Other factors which can affect your total cost include the condition of your tooth and the number of canals. Teeth with multiple canals, such as molars, are more expensive to treat because of the additional work involved. If you have dental insurance, it may cover a percentage of the cost. We can help you determine your coverage if you have questions. Call us to schedule an exam. Our dentist can tell you your cost for the procedure after examining the affected tooth.
Are There Different Types of Root Canals?
There are standard root canals and two specialized procedures that are not as common. If a previous root canal fails, which is rare, you may have an apicoectomy. In this procedure, a dentist or endodontist will make an incision in your gum, remove the tip of the root and seal the space. For children with baby tooth pain, our dentist may suggest a pediatric pulpotomy, which removes the infected pulp in the tooth’s pulp chamber, but leaves pulp in the canals. This is an easier procedure for a child, used because the tooth will fall out eventually. The tooth is covered by a crown so your child can use the tooth to chew normally.
Is a Dental Root Canal Treatment Painful?
Root canals have an undeserved reputation for being painful. The truth is that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. The tooth pain you’re experiencing is from the infected pulp inside your tooth, which can be very painful. The pain stops permanently after the procedure because the tooth’s nerves are gone. Don’t let fear of pain hold you back from getting the treatment you need to preserve your tooth. Call us today to make an appointment.