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Why Do Dentists Perform Root Canals?
A dentist will suggest a root canal if you have a tooth with infected pulp, which is usually quite painful. Pulp gets infected from untreated decay, a crack in the tooth, trauma or repeated dental procedures on the same tooth. By removing the pulp, a dentist can preserve the tooth. Once the canals in the roots become infected, your only other option is an extraction.
Which Symptoms Indicate I Need a Root Canal?
Your symptoms may include:
- Dental sensitivity that lasts for minutes after the hot or cold stimulus is removed
- Spontaneous pain
- A tooth that hurts when you touch it
- Gum or facial swelling
- An abscess
- A discolored tooth
- Visible tooth swelling
If you have any of these symptoms, please call our office to make an appointment. The earlier you call, the greater the chance our dentist has of saving your tooth.
Should a Root Canal Dentist or an Endodontist Perform My Treatment?
All dentists receive training in performing root canals during dental school. General dentists often perform root canals for their patients, but they will refer complicated cases to endodontists, specialist dentists who treat diseased or damaged dental pulp. Endodontists also handle root canal re-treatments, although patients who have root canals usually enjoy having a healthy tooth for the rest of their life. When you visit our dental office, one of our dentists will assess your needs and made sure you see the best dental professional for your unique needs.
What Are the Steps Involved in a Root Canal Procedure?
During a dental root canal, which can last an hour or more, your dentist will perform the following steps:
- You’ll have a topical anesthetic, followed by a local anesthetic so you won’t feel anything during the procedure. Your comfort is paramount.
- We will place a rubber shield in your mouth to isolate the tooth and control the environment where your dentist will work.
- Your dentist will make a small access cavity in your tooth so he or she can reach the canals.
- Your dentist removes the pulp and shapes the canals.
- The canals are rinsed, often multiple times, filled with gutta-percha and then sealed with dental cement.
Your dentist places a temporary filling in the access cavity, which he or she will remove when you return for placement of your tailor-made root canal crown. Covering the tooth with a crown is a vital last step to restoring your tooth. Without a crown, the tooth could easily break.
What Root Canal Cost Should I Expect?
Without performing an examination and reviewing your x-rays, our dentist cannot give you an accurate estimate of your cost. Factors that affect your cost include the amount of damage to your tooth and the tooth’s location. Teeth with extensive damage will add to your cost as your dentist has to prepare the tooth for the procedure. Molars, which have more roots, are the most expensive to treat, while a procedure on a front tooth is the least expensive. Your cost is also affected by whether a dentist or endodontist performs the procedure. Dental insurance providers generally cover a portion of our fee for root canals. Contact your dental insurance provider for more information. Call us to arrange an appointment to learn your cost for the procedure and to get information about payment methods.
Are There Other Kinds of Root Canals?
While most patients need a standard treatment to save their tooth, there are special procedures available for baby teeth and patients who have failed root canals. An apicoectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the infection and the tip of the root, replacing it with a root-end filling. Over a period of several months, your jawbone grows around the root, restoring your tooth’s functions. We use pediatric pulpotomies on children’s baby teeth to ease their pain. Our dentist removes the pulp from the tooth’s pulp chamber, but not from the root canals, and then caps the tooth with a crown. The procedure is easier on your child and the tooth should last until it naturally falls out. An adult tooth can also have a pulpotomy in certain instances.
Why Should I Consider a Dental Root Canal Treatment Over an Extraction?
Saving your tooth is essential for your oral health. When you have a missing tooth in your mouth, your teeth shift to try to fill the space. Additionally, your jawbone can deteriorate unless you replace the missing tooth with an implant. Root canals are less expensive than having your tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge or an implant. Root canals do not hurt either, and the recovery time is less and easier than if you had the tooth pulled. Phone our office to schedule an appointment with our dentist. He or she will go over your options with you.