Top 10 Questions Our Patients Ask About Root Canal Treatment

February 12, 2021

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure used to treat a tooth that has bacteria causing inflammation and irritation to the pulp of the tooth.

What happens during a root canal?

When a root canal procedure is performed the procedure starts with the dentist using a local anesthetic to numb the tooth. A rubber dam is then places to isolate the tooth to keep it clean and free from saliva. The dentist then creates an opening in the tooth giving them access to the canals so the bacteria can be removed along with the pulp of the tooth. Once the canals are clean they place a product called gutta-percha which is cemented in and the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling until the final restoration takes place.

Are root canal treatments painful?

Before a root canal procedure starts the dentist will use a topical anesthetic to ensure the gum area is numb before then using a local anesthetic to numb the tooth. With the techniques and technology used today, most dental procedures can be completed with little to no pain at all.

Do I need a crown after a root canal treatment?

Once a root canal treatment has been completed typically the next step is to get a crown placed. This is due to the weakening of the tooth structure from the tooth nerve being removed and the decay. The crown is recommended so that the tooth can function and not crumble or crack when being put under pressure during the process of chewing or grinding.

Do I have to go to and endodontist for a root canal?

No, Root canal procedures can be preformed by general dentist who have the tools and training required to complete the procedure. There are however, some situations that even dentists who complete root canals routinely will refer you to and endodontist, such as the tooth has been previously treated, it has slender canals, or a very complex anatomy.

What will happen if I don’t do a root canal treatment?

A root canal treatment is recommended for someone who’s tooth has become infected due to the growth of bacteria. If the infection is left untreated the infection can spread not only to other teeth but also to the jawbone, causing immense pain and an abscess to appear. This infection can spread rapidly into the face, floor of the mouth and even into the brain.

Do I still need the root canal even though I no longer have pain after taking antibiotics?

Even though your tooth may no longer be feeling pain, this does not mean the infection is gone. Sometimes, the tooth pain will stop because either the infection has destroyed the pulp of your tooth so badly or the antibiotics have helped overcome the presence of the bacteria temporarily. The infection will still be present in the infected nerve until it has been treated.

Would getting the tooth extracted be a better alternative?

No, even though there are replacement options once a tooth has been extracted, preserving your natural teeth, if possible is always the better option. It can also be the most cost effective as artificial implants to replace the missing tooth can be costly and require much more time in treatment.

How long does the root canal procedure take?

The amount of time this procedure takes depends on your specific case and also the type of tooth involved. Molars are bigger so they contain more canals than a pre-molar and would take longer to complete. The estimated time for a root canal is typically estimated at around 1-2 hours. The treatment can be completed in one visit, but depending on your specific situation it can require a second appointment.

How much does a root canal cost?

Preserving your tooth using endodontic treatment, is the less expensive and less invasive option. The alternative option of an extraction with replacement using implants or bridges requires a lot more time and money. The cost of a root canal depends on your specific dental insurance coverage. If you do not have insurance, our office offers great discount options along with payment plans through care credit to make it more affordable.
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