When a tooth has become badly decayed or infected, a root canal is the treatment used to save and repair it. The root canal procedure involves removing the pulp and nerve of the tooth, and then cleaning and sealing the pulp chamber. Without the root canal procedure, the tissue around the tooth can become infected, and abscesses can form, and eventually teeth could be lost.
The term root canal, which makes many people squeamish when they hear it, is actually a description of the naturally occurring space in the center of a tooth. The pulp is the soft area within the root canal. The nerve of the tooth also lies within the root canal.
Why Must Tooth Pulp Be Removed?
When the nerve tissue of the tooth pulp is damaged, it starts breaking down, and bacteria begins to grow within the pulp chamber. This can quickly cause an infection, or the tooth can become abscessed. An abscess is an infection that has spread past the roots of the tooth into the gum. A root canal infection can also cause:
- Swelling in the immediate area that can rapidly spread to the face and neck
- Bone loss
- Drainage problems that can extend outward from the root of the tooth
What Causes Nerve and Pulp Damage in a Tooth?
There are many things that can cause nerve and pulp damage in a tooth. Repeated dental procedures such as large fillings can cause nerve and pulp damage, or nerve and pulp damage caused by trauma to the face.
How Do You Know You Need a Root Canal?
You may not have any symptoms at all. In fact, the vast majority of patients don’t even know they need a root canal because of the lack of symptoms. However, there are signs you may notice and they include:
- Severe pain when chewing or clenching your teeth
- Pain and sensitivity to hot or cold
- Darkening or discoloration of a tooth
- Swelling and/or tenderness in the gums
- Persistent pimples on the gums
Do Root Canals Really Hurt That Much?
Root canals are well known for being painful, but the truth is that modern dental techniques and technology means that the procedure itself is virtually pain-free. Any discomfort experienced following treatment is certainly significantly less than the pain some patients come in with. So do not put it off because you are scared of what will happen.
What to Expect After a Root Canal?
For several days after the procedure, you may experience sensitivity in the tooth. This pain can be controlled for the most part with over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. This pain should subside after just a few days.
While most root canal procedures are completed in a single visit, occasionally completion of treatment may require a second appointment. If this is the case, you should avoid using the affected tooth involved in the root canal until the procedure is completely done, that is, once the dental crown or the permanent filling is in place. This will prevent the inside of the tooth from becoming recontaminated with bacteria from the mouth, while also preventing it from breaking before the restoration is finished. You should also brush your teeth and floss as you normally do.
Root canals have a success rate of 95%. Many teeth repaired through the root canal procedure will last for a lifetime. But, despite the best efforts of your dentist, it is possible that an infection may occur after a root canal. This can happen when there is an undetected crack in the root of a tooth, or the inner sealing material breaks down over time, allowing bacteria to get back in the inner regions of the tooth.
What Can I Expect To Pay For a Root Canal?
The cost will vary depending on the severity of the problem, and the tooth involved. Most insurance companies will cover at least part of the cost of an endodontic treatment. A general estimate is around $500 to $1000 for an incisor, and around $800 to $1500 for a molar. You should also know that an endodontist (root canal specialist) will charge more than a general dentist.
If you know you need a root canal, and are wary of the pain the procedure may cause, you need a professional and experienced dentist. You can get that at Newport Beach Dentistry. We have over 30 years’ experience with root canals.
Located at 1401 Avocado Avenue, Suite 209, Newport Beach, California, 92660, Newport Beach Dentistry can take care of any oral health needs you have. We listen to each patient’s concerns about their oral health so that we can provide the best care and service. We also accept most insurance plans.
If you think you need a root canal, give us a call at (949) 644-9181 to book your consultation. Their caring staff will make you feel at ease throughout your treatment.
So, don’t put off that root canal any longer, as it may make the process more complicated, or decrease the number of treatment options you have. Call Newport Beach Dentistry today and make an appointment.