What Is Root Canal Therapy?
When a tooth becomes damaged or decayed into its pulp, a root canal is often advised to preserve the tooth’s structure. Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy, is designed to ultimately save a tooth from needing to be extracted in the future. The procedure removes the inflamed or infected tissue within the tooth root, which is then restored with a filling or covered with a dental crown. Although root canals may seem intimidating to many people, the procedure is typically very straightforward and actually reduces tooth pain, swelling, and sensitivity.
What Does the Root Canal Procedure Entail?
If tooth decay is detected, our dentists will conduct X-rays to determine how deep the damage has progressed. A root canal becomes necessary if the decay has reached the pulp—the part of the tooth composed of nerves and blood vessels. Prior to the procedure, a local anesthetic will be placed in the area around the tooth to minimize discomfort throughout the process. Once the area is numb, the pulpectomy will begin. This involves making a small opening in the tooth to access its pulp. The diseased tissue is removed, and the surrounding tooth structure is cleaned and disinfected to prevent the risk of future infection. Once the tooth has been treated, a rubber-like material is used to fill the cleared root space. This is then sealed and, in many cases, covered with a custom-made dental crown to reinforce the integrity of the tooth’s structure.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
Root canals are often thought to be a painful procedure, but with advanced dental technology and anesthesia available, patients should not experience any pain. In fact, many people report that undergoing a root canal feels similar to getting a cavity filled. Our dentists take extra care to ensure the affected area of your mouth is thoroughly numbed before any work is done. For those with dental anxiety regarding their procedure, sedation dentistry can also be employed to help calm their nerves and provide a care-free visit.
What Can I Expect in My Root Canal Recovery?
Within the first few days after the procedure, you may experience some pain and sensitivity, but this is typically well-managed with over-the-counter pain medication. After the area has healed, you should be able to use your tooth like normal as you brush, floss, and chew. Although the damaged tissue is removed, you will still need to practice good oral hygiene to prevent new decay from developing in the future.
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?
The cost of root canal therapy will be calculated based on the specifics of your treatment plan. Factors that determine the fees involved include:
- Location of the tooth being repaired (e.g., front tooth vs. molar)
- The severity of the cavity
- If a filling or crown is placed
- Geographic region of the dental practice
In most cases, the majority of the cost is typically covered by insurance providers. If you need financial assistance to help cover your cost, such as if you do not have dental insurance, our team offers financing options to help make your cost more manageable, breaking it into smaller, monthly payments.