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What Are Root Canals?
A tooth’s root canals are filled with soft pulp tissue that teems with nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels. Dental pulp actually extends from the base of the tooth roots up to the pulp chamber at the center of the tooth. Pulp is instrumental in a tooth’s early growth and development, but it’s not vital for a mature tooth.
Since the pulp contains sensitive nerves and blood vessels, any disruption to the pulp can cause severe pain. This is especially true when dental pulp becomes exposed due to a tooth injury or advanced tooth decay. If left untreated, damaged or infected tooth pulp can kill off the tooth’s nerves and eventually cause permanent tooth loss. Dental root canal surgery can help save the tooth, removing the damaged pulp tissue and alleviating tooth pain and dysfunction.
Will I Need a Root Canal?
Dental pulp isn’t usually able to repair itself, so if you have infected or damaged pulp tissue, our dentist may recommend dental root canal treatment. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, it’s important to call our office right away so our dentist can assess whether you require the procedure.
- Unrelenting tooth pain
- Inflamed gums near the affected tooth
- Sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures that remains even when the source of the temperature is gone
- Sensitivity to pressure, biting and chewing
- Darkened or discolored teeth
- Dental pain that wakes you during the night
What Dentist Performs Root Canals?
Root canals may be performed by general dentists or endodontists, depending on your individual needs. Most standard root canals are performed by general dentists, who handle nearly three-quarters of all root canals. Some patients require re-treatment or more complex expertise, and those patients are usually referred to endodontists. Endodontists are general dentists who have spent an extra two to three years studying how to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the inside of the tooth. They are also qualified to perform dental implants and other important dental surgeries. If you are searching for a root canal dentist, call our office today. We will connect you with a provider who has the skills best suited to your needs.
What Happens During Root Canals?
Most simple root canals are relatively quick procedures, lasting from one to two hours. During your root canal, your dentist will:
- Numb the tooth so you’ll stay comfortable throughout the procedure.
- Place a latex shield around the tooth to isolate it and keep it clean and dry.
- Make an opening in the top of your tooth to reach the pulp chamber.
- Remove the infected pulp and clean the root canals.
- Flush debris and remaining bacteria out of the canals using an antiseptic solution.
- Fill the empty canals with a biocompatible substance called gutta-percha. If decay has taken much of your tooth, your dentist may place a tiny post in the root canal to provide additional support, then seal the tooth.
- Cap your tooth with a root canal crown.
How Much Are Root Canals?
Root canals vary in price according to many different factors and are based on your individual needs. Simple root canals are less expensive to perform than complex root canals, and you’ll also find some price differences depending on whether your procedure is performed by a dentist or an endodontist. Your root canal cost will also be based on the number of roots in your tooth. Incisors have one root, pre-molars usually have two roots, and molars have three or four roots. As a result, root canals on molars often cost more than root canals on front teeth.
Your dental insurance may cover part of the cost of your root canal procedure, so check with your insurance provider to find out if you have coverage and at what rate. We are committed to helping you get the treatment you need, so we can work with your dental insurance provider to help reduce your overall costs. First, though, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled dentists so that we can make a thorough evaluation of your needs and provide you with a cost estimate.
Are There Alternatives to Root Canals?
Most teeth can be effectively treated with root canals, but teeth that remain infected after treatment may need additional work. For teeth with unsuccessful prior treatment, an apicoectomy is a viable alternative. During this procedure, your endodontist makes a small incision in the gum at the base of the tooth. The root’s tip is then removed along with any other diseased tissue around the root. The root base is then sealed and a few stitches are made to close the initial incision.
What Should You Know About Root Canals?
Advances in local anesthetics make root canals a comfortable, painless experience for most patients. After the procedure, over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce any post-procedure discomfort.
There’s no reason to suffer from a painfully infected tooth. Call us to schedule a root canal in Columbia so you can eat and live comfortably again.