If you are reading this it is likely that your dentist has told you that you will need to have a root canal done, and you are wondering exactly what the procedure entails and how much discomfort it will cause. You shouldn’t worry; root canals are performed every year on millions of people all around the world, and unlike in the past when they were painful procedures and no anesthesia was used, today they are comfortable and effective procedures that will restore decayed teeth.
When do you need root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is performed when a tooth is decayed right to the core. The decayed material is removed, the area is cleaned and then a prosthetic piece, which replaces the root of the tooth, is inserted. One of the most important things you should know about root canals is that they should never be put off. Not only will you be in increasing pain from the decaying tooth, you also risk loss of the whole tooth – if it decays beyond a certain pointy it cannot be saved, no even with a root canal. In fact, if you seek treatment early enough, as soon as you notice a problem with your tooth you may be able to avoid the procedure altogether.
How do you know that you need a root canal?
The best person to determine whether or not you need a root canal is your dentist. They will examine the tooth to see the extent of the decay and then they will schedule you for a root canal. There are some symptoms that will tell you whether or not you are a candidate for a root canal. If you have large cavities you should see your dentist so that they can recommend a good time for you to come in and have your procedure done. Sometimes cavities form on the inside of the tooth but there may be no outward indication that you have them. In such instances you will know that there is a problem because every time you bite down on that tooth you will feel lots of pain which only keeps getting worse and worse. When you see a dentist they will do an x-ray on the section of your jaw and they will be able to see the cavity and also decide on the best course of treatment.
Are root canals painful?
This is the foremost question on the minds of most people who are facing a root canal for the first time. We have already mentioned that today these procedures are comfortable but you may be looking for further assurance. Before any root canal procedure your dentist will make sure that you are properly anesthetized – there is a professional anesthetist standing by to make sure that you have the right dosage of medication to ensure that you don’t feel any pain. If you are still worried about having the procedure done you should talk to the dentist about administering something to calm your nerves – there are drugs available that will help you feel much better and by the time they wear off the procedure will be over.
After the root canal you can expect to feel a little bit of discomfort, but this will wear away with time. Your dentist will prescribe some painkillers that you can use at home as well as antibiotics to stave off any infections. If you develop pain or swelling you should go back in right away for additional treatment.
What does the procedure entail?
Root canals are procedures that take time, so you can expect that yours will take a few weeks, sometimes a few months depending on how fast you heal. The first thing that the dentist will do is determine the precise location and size of the cavity. When you come in for your procedure the dentist will make an incision into your tooth using specialized tools so as to access the decayed area. He will remove all the decayed pulp and then clean out the area after which he will insert a compound called gutta percha and make sure that it is tightly packed in the space. Once that is in the next step is to protect the area. This is done by placing a protective cap over the filled cavity after which the dentist gives the area time to heal. Once he is sure that it is healed it will be time for you to have a crown inserted.
How long does a root canal last?
If your root canal is done properly by an experienced dentist you can expect it to last a lifetime. You will need to take very good care of your teeth not just for the sake of the root canal but so that you don’t develop any further cavities – the fact that you already developed one cavity is an indication that you are susceptible. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. Use mouthwash to get rid of any small food particles that may be lodged between the teeth. You should never miss an appointment with your dentist – they will make sure that your root canal is doing okay, and they will also look at the rest of your teeth, diagnose and treat any developing problems.
How much does root canal therapy cost?
This will depend on the extent of the damage on the tooth, the dentist that you choose and even the location of the dentist – those in big cities tend to charge more. One average, a good dentist will charge between $400 and $1,000 for a canine or incisor, while a molar and premolar will cost between $500 and $1,400. Most insurance companies cover root canals treatments so check with yours before you pay out of pocket. If your insurance company doesn’t cover the procedure you can find a good dentist who is willing to offer you a payment plan – you will only be required to pay a fraction upfront, and you can pay the rest in monthly installments.