A root canal is a procedure dentists use to treat and stabilize infected teeth. All teeth contain three layers: enamel, dentin, and pulp tissue. When the innermost layer, the pulp tissue, becomes infected, a dentist will perform a root canal to stop the harmful bacteria from spreading.
Do I need a root canal?
Pain or sensitivity may be a sign that a tooth is infected and needs a root canal. Usually, a tooth infection begins as a result of decay or damage.
By removing the nerve and pulp of a tooth, a root canal eliminates the infection and ensures the tooth can still function properly. If the infection is not treated, it can cause bone loss, facial swelling, or abscess that can be detrimental to your overall health; so, it’s important to treat the affected tooth.
What Should I Expect?
Before beginning a root canal, the dentist will use an anesthetic to make sure the tooth is numb. Next, he or she will open a small hole in the enamel of the tooth and remove the infected pulp from each root of the tooth.
After sterilizing the inside of the tooth to prevent further infection, the dentist will seal the canals with a paste called gutta-percha and close the opening with a filling. Typically, we also recommend crowning the tooth within six months to reduce the risk of fracture.
The length of the root canal procedure will depend on the location and difficulty of the tooth, but the process usually lasts between one and two hours. Patients sometimes report some soreness in the day following the procedure, but otherwise, recovery is quite easy. The dental team will provide you with specific care instructions following your procedure.
How Much Does it Cost?
The price of a root canal depends on your insurance as well as the placement of the tooth. We are happy to talk to patients about available payment options, including financing plans and our in-office dental savings plan.