What is a Root Canal?

infected tooth

A root canal is a common procedure that treats a decaying tooth that may be causing pain or extra sensitivity. During a root canal procedure, the endodontist will remove the nerve and pulp inside of the infected tooth. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed. If the tooth is not properly treated, there is risk of further infection and abscesses may form. Do not put off having a root canal procedure if you are in pain. Millions of teeth are treated and saved every year. A root canal procedure will relieve pain and ensure the tooth is healthy again. The longer you postpone treatment the more you risk losing the tooth.

How do I know If I need a root canal?

The best way to find out if a root canal is necessary is to visit your local dentist. Your dentist will examine the infected tooth and decide if an appointment with the endodontist for a root canal procedure is necessary. Root canal treatment may be necessary when the pulp and soft tissue inside the root canal has become inflamed or infected. There are many reasons why you may need a root canal treatment:

  • Repeated dental procedures on a tooth.
  • Faulty crown.
  • Chip or crack on the tooth.
  • Deep decay

Any injury to a tooth may cause soft tissue damage which left untreated can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

cartoon tooth

Did you know?

More than 15 million root canals are performed every year and more than 41,000 root canals are performed each day. General dentists refer about half of their root canal cases to an endodontist.

Root Canal Treatment

Is getting a root canal painful?

Most root canal procedures are very comfortable. A local anesthetic may be administered to help ensure the patient does not feel anything while the process is underway. Some sensitivity may be present in the next few days, but the pain should be less than what most patients experience before their treatment.

How long does a root canal last?

When done by an expert endodontist, a modern root canal treatment should last for a lifetime.

What happens after treatment?

The tooth may be sensitive for a few days after the procedure, but acute pain will be gone. Over the counter pain relievers will be sufficient for pain relief at this point. A crown or other restoration may be needed after root canal treatment to restore your tooth to it’s fully functioning state. A restored tooth can last as long as your natural teeth.

Is it better to pull a tooth than to have a root canal treatment?

No, a root canal treatment is your best option. It’s always best to save your natural teeth. Root canal procedure has a high success rate and most root canal treated teeth las a life time. Replacing an extracted tooth with a dental implant or a bridge requires much more treatment time and may result in more procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissue.

How much does a root canal cost?

The cost can vary depending on the severity of the problem and the affected tooth. Many dental insurance plans will at least partially cover root canal treatment. An average cost of the root canal treatment itself performed by an endodontist can range from $1,000 to $2,000 for and incisor and $1,500 to $3,000 for a molar.

How do I avoid the need for root canal treatment?

Avoiding root canal treatment is the same as normal good oral health practice. Keep your teeth decay-free by brushing and flossing every day. Keep your diet low in sugar and avoid acidic beverages such as soda. Make sure to have regular professional cleanings and exams with your local dentist. If you play sports, you should wear a custom-made mouthguard to protect your teeth from injury
What happens if don’t get a root canal?
The pain may temporarily go away, but the infection wont. The infection will travel the tooth’s roots into surrounding tissue. If left untreated this may result in an abscess and possibly systematic infection.