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Root Canal
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Description

A root canal is a dental process used to correct an infection in the root of the tooth, which can cause an abscess to form and will eventually lead to the loss of the tooth. The goal of a root canal is to remove the infected pulp, treat the infection, and fill the empty root canal with a dental filling,


Length of Surgery

1-2 hours


In/Outpatient

Outpatient


Anesthesia

Local anesthesia, plus sedation (optional)


Back to work in...

1 day


Back to the gym in...

1 day


Treatment Frequency

Once


Risks

Infection, swelling


Cost

$400-$1000


Duration of results

Permanent



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Root canal costs

The costs vary depending on the tooth affected, the number of roots in the tooth, and the severity of the problem. The cost for the treatment itself may range from $350 to $800, which usually does not include the crown, an often necessary device to protect the tooth following a root canal. Many dental insurance plans do cover root canals; most dentists also offer monthly payment plans.

Am I a candidate for a root canal?

A root canal may become necessary if the tooth has become infected. In general, an untreated cavity is the main reason for a root canal. As the decay erodes through the enamel of the tooth, bacteria is able to infect the pulp, or root, of the tooth. If a root canal is not performed promptly, the infected tooth may need to be removed.

This inflammation can be quite painful. Common signs that you need a root canal include:

  • Pain and swelling around a tooth
  • Pain when biting down on a tooth, touching it, or pushing on it
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold

What is a root canal?

"Root canal"describes both the root within the center of the tooth and the dental procedure used to correct an infected root. During a root canal, the infected root is removed and the tooth is cleaned before being filled in with a dental filler. Root canals can save the tooth; if left untreated, the infection may require the tooth to be extracted.

Root canal steps

The first step in a root canal procedure is generally an x-ray to confirm the source of the problem.Most root canals can be completed in one visit, usually lasting between one and two hours. For more complicated dental work, or to ensure that an active infection has been completely treated, two visits may be needed. In addition, a crown is generally placed over the tooth once the root canal has been completed; this will require an additional visit. This crown protects the tooth, keeping it from breaking.

The first step to a root canal procedure is numbing using a local anesthesia. Root canal procedures have a reputation for being painful, but the anesthesia used means that it should be no more uncomfortable than having a filling. Sedation such as nitrous oxide is also available, especially for patients who are concerned about pain.

The dentist creates a hole in the tooth for access to the pulp. The infected pulp will be removed from the pulp. Then, the root of the tooth is measured using x-rays or other methods. Next, special tools are used to clean out the pulp in the canal. In many cases, the tooth will have more than one canal that will need to be treated; for example, the molars may have as many as four. Finally, the roots are filled with a dental filling material known as gutta percha.

Root Canal Recovery and Healing Steps

For a few days following the root canal procedure, you can expect some sensitivity and soreness. Most patients return to their daily activities the day after a root canal. Until all steps of the root canal process are complete, it is advised to avoid chewing on the tooth, which will help avoid additional damage before the tooth is fully restored. During this time, it is important to brush and floss as you regularly would, including the treated tooth.

Root Canal Side Effects and Procedure Risks

Complications of a root canal include swelling, inflammation, and pain. Antibiotics may be needed if the infection affects surrounding tissues. If all of the roots aren't cleaned out completely during the procedure, the tooth can stay infected.

Cosmetic Dentist Checklist

Cosmetic Dentist Checklist

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Root Canal procedures; click here for an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself dentist.


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