A root canal treatment is a dental procedure to remove inflamed or infected pulp on the inside of the tooth which is then carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed. Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth.
A root canal (also known as an endodontic treatment) is a serious procedure, but one that specialists handle every day. Before engaging in any type of dental work, it's important to know the facts about root canals.
Is a root canal painful?
Since patients are given anesthesia, a root canal isn't more painful than a regular dental procedure, such as a filling or getting a wisdom tooth removed. However, a root canal is generally a bit sore or numb after the procedure, and can even cause mild discomfort for a few days.
How do you know if you need a root canal?
Root canals are needed for a cracked tooth from injury or genetics, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling. Patients generally need a root canal when they notice their teeth are sensitive, particularly to hot and cold sensations.
There are a few symptoms that mean you might need a root canal-
Severe pain while chewing or biting
Pimples on the gums
A chipped or cracked tooth
Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
Swollen or tender gums
Deep decay or darkening of the gums
How long does it take to recover from a root canal?
Although you will most likely be numb for 2-4 hours following the procedure, most patients are able to return to school or work directly following a root canal. However, it is advised against eating until the numbness is completely gone.
How much does a root canal cost?
The cost varies depending on how complex the problem is and which tooth is affected. Molars are more difficult to treat; the fee is usually more. Most dental insurance policies provide some coverage for endodontic treatment.
Generally, endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must be replaced with an implant or bridge to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration.