7 Important Facts About Root Canals

Just the mention of the word root canal strikes fear into the heart of many patients. However, many patients find that the procedure is not as scary or as painful as they thought it would be.  Here are ten important facts to help demystify root canal therapy and help you better understand the procedure.

1) What part of the tooth is effected by a root canal?

Each tooth has a soft substance in the center, called pulp, that is made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. The besides the pulp chamber in the center, the pulp tissues extend down from canals that extend into roots and surrounding bone. Occasionally, the canals become infected causing pain, sensitivity or other side-effects.

2) Why do I need a root canal?

Root canal therapy is necessary to treat the tooth pulp or canals once they become infected, inflamed or dead.

3) What types of conditions do root canals fix?

The pulp or nerve of the tooth can become damaged in many different ways. However, here are some of the more common things that can require a root canal:

  • Pain or severe sensitivity.
  • Abscess or infection around the tooth.
  • Deep cavities.
  • Significant trauma causing nerve damage to the tooth.
  • Cracking or fracture of the tooth.
  • Resorption of tooth structure or dissolving of the tooth from injury, trauma, tooth re-plantation or aggressive tooth movement during orthodontics.
  • Repeated dental procedures causing stress on a tooth.

4) What happens during a root canal procedure?

Each individual patient is different and your dentist may choose to conduct your procedure in one or two appointments according to your needs and the health of your tooth. However, these are the general steps taken during a root canal procedure:

Step One: Confirmation that treatment is required. In order to confirm that a root canal is necessary, your dentist will take an X-ray of the root and/or perform a pulp test. During the pulp test, a cold stimulus will be placed on the tooth to check the response. Multiple teeth are usually tested to compare for healthy responses.

Step Two: Numbing of the area. Before starting your root canal treatment, your dentist or endodontist will numb the area with local anesthesia.

Step Three: Pulp Removal. Next, an opening will be created in the top of the tooth for the removal of the infected pulp. The roots and canals are then cleaned with a disinfecting solution.

Step Four: Filling the root canal. Your dentist or endodontist will apply medicine to the canal areas to kill any bacteria. An antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent any potential infection. The canals are then filled and surrounded by a sealing paste. After the root canal, the tooth may need a crown (or artificial covering) to protect it from damage in the future.

5) Is a root canal painful?

Most people say that a root canal isn’t any more painful than getting a filling. When the medication from the procedure wears off, the gums around the tooth may be sore, as well as the tooth. It is recommended that patients avoid putting any pressure on the tooth for a few days following the root canal. Any residual pain can easily be controlled with an over-the-counter pain medication.

6) How long will my root canal last?

Root canals can last a lifetime if the tooth is cared for properly. Excellent hygiene is recommended, so you will need to brush and floss every day. Because there is no nerve in the tooth, you will not feel any symptoms of a cavity. As such, your dentist will need to take periodic X-rays to make sure the root canal is healthy.

7) How much does a root canal cost?

Most dental insurance covers root canal therapy or a portion of the cost. However, the exact cost of a root canals will depend on the location of the tooth and whether the procedure is conducted by a general dentist or an endodontist. On average, the cost of a root canal for a single-rooted tooth is $500 to $1,000. A multi-rooted tooth can cost from $500 to $1,500. Your dentist can give you more specific information after a complete examination.

Come See Dr. Shen For All Your Dental And Cosmetic Needs!

A good dentist can be hard to find, but if you live in the Mountain View Area, Dr. Donian Shen would love to be your trusted dental care provider. Known for her technical expertise and exceptional patient care, Dr. Shen can help give you the healthy and youthful smile you deserve. With an extensive offering of procedures, Dr. Shen can help you with all your dental care and cosmentic dentistry needs. No one wants root canal therapy, but if you have to have it, you might as well have the friendly service and superior results that Dr. Shen can offer. Call our office today to find out more about our services or to schedule a consultation.