What is a Root Canal (a.k.a Endodontic Treatment)?
Root canal treatment is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. When bacteria enter your tooth through deep cavities, cracks or flawed fillings, your tooth can become abscessed /infected. An abscessed tooth may cause pain and/or swelling. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can cause serious oral health problems.
A root canal is a treatment to remove the infection and dead tissue in the pulp of the tooth. This procedure will heal and save the infected tooth. After a root canal treatment, your tooth will be restored to look, feel and work as much like a natural tooth as possible.
How do I know if I need a Root Canal?
Although some people have no symptoms, the following are common signs that you might have an infected tooth and possibly need a root canal treatment:
- A lingering pain when the tooth encounters hot or cold liquids or foods
- A painful toothache that awakens you
- Pain that radiates from one area of your mouth
- Serious teeth pain when eating or when you put pressure on the area
- A small, pimple-like bump on the gums near the area of teeth pain
- Darkening of the tooth
How is a Root Canal procedure done?
It is similar to a filling procedure but the filling is done to the pulp chamber instead. Firstly, the dentist applies anesthetic to freeze the area, and makes an access hole through the top of the tooth to get at the infected soft tissue in the pulp chamber. Then the root channels are being cleaned and disinfected, and filled with a molten rubber material called Gutta Percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Is a Root Canal Treatment Painful?
Sometimes people think that root canal treatment is going to be painful. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days after treatment, you might experience a mild ache in your tooth, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Your dentist will instruct you to take over-the-counter or prescription medications to alleviate the discomfort as indicated.
How is a tooth restored after root canal treatment?
After a root canal treatment, your tooth has to be restored to feel, look and work as much like a natural tooth as possible. Your dentist may use a permanent filling or a crown to restore your tooth. The choice of restoration will depend on the strength of the part of the tooth that's left. A back tooth will likely need a crown because chewing puts a great deal of force on back teeth. If there is not enough of the tooth left, posts may be used to help support the crown.
How much will a Root Canal procedure cost?
The cost Root Canal therapy varies depending on which tooth is affected and how complex the problem is. Molars are more difficult to treat and thus the fee is usually more. Most dental insurances consider root canal therapy as one of the basic procedures and would provide some coverage for this treatment.
Are there alternatives to root canal therapy?
There are cases when a tooth cannot be saved. Some of the possible reasons are: the tooth is too damaged to be restored, the tooth does not have adequate bone support, or the root is severely fractured. The alternative will be to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant retained crown or fixed bridgework. Your dentist will help you decide which option is most practical in your specific case.