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Root Canals: What Are They?
Every tooth has root canals that extend from the inner tooth’s pulp chamber to the base of the tooth’s roots. These canals are filled with a soft tissue called dental pulp that contains connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves. When dental pulp becomes infected or damaged, you’ll likely experience extreme pain and dysfunction. If left untreated, this infection can cause you to lose your tooth entirely.
Root canal surgery helps to restore the tooth, removing the infected pulp tissue and sealing the tooth roots from additional harm. This endodontic procedure also helps to permanently alleviate the symptoms that accompany a tooth infection.
When Is a Dental Root Canal Needed?
There are many signs that a root canal may be necessary. Because this condition can lead to serious dental and health problems, it’s important to pay attention to these signs and contact our office as soon as you begin experiencing any of the below symptoms:
- Persistent tooth pain that can range from mild to severe.
- Tooth sensitivity and pain that worsens when eating hot or cold foods. (This sensitivity lingers long after the hot or cold stimuli are gone.)
- Tooth pain that keeps you up at night or wakes you up.
- Tooth pain that worsens when you bite down, chew or touch nearby gums.
- Swelling of the gums near the tooth.
- Teeth that become dark or discolored.
The good news is that root canals usually relieve these painful symptoms and help you to keep your natural teeth.
Can My Dentist Do Root Canals?
Your general dentist is well qualified to perform root canals. About 72 percent of all root canals performed in the United States are completed by general dentists. If your treatment requires special expertise, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist. If you are looking for a root canal dentist, give us a call today. We’re happy to connect you with the skilled provider who can best address your needs.
What Do Root Canals Involve?
Most patients are pleasantly surprised by how quickly and easily the procedure is performed. You can expect the procedure to take one to two hours and to involve the steps listed below:
- Your dentist will take x-rays of your tooth to carefully view the structure of your tooth’s root canals.
- Your tooth is then numbed so you won’t feel pain during the procedure.
- A small sheet of latex is fitted around your tooth to keep it free from saliva.
- A minuscule hole is made in the top of the tooth so your dentist can access the tooth’s root canals.
- Using special instruments, your dentist removes the tooth pulp and cleans and shapes the root canals.
- Fluid is used to flush out any remaining debris and disinfect the empty tooth canals.
- Your root canals will be filled using biocompatible gutta-percha, a rubber-like material, or a post that can provide extra support and structure.
- The tooth is sealed and capped with a root canal crown to complete the procedure.
How Much Do Root Canals Cost?
Your actual root canal cost is based on a number of factors, including how damaged your tooth is and whether you require treatments to prepare the tooth for the dental root canal procedure. The type of tooth that needs treatment also affects your overall price. Molars have three or four roots, so they usually cost more to treat than front teeth that have only one root. Your cost also hinges on whether the procedure is performed by an endodontist or a general dentist. Your dental insurance may cover part of the cost of the procedure since many dental insurance plans have benefits for restorative procedures. Our dentist will provide you with a more specific cost estimate after a complete dental exam. Contact our office today for more information and to schedule your evaluation with our knowledgeable dentist.
What Are the Types of Root Canals?
The most common endodontic procedure is a molar root canal, but root canals provide effective treatments for all types of teeth. For teeth where infection lingers even after root canals, your dentist may recommend an apicoectomy. During this procedure, the dentist removes the tip of the tooth’s root and any diseased tissue surrounding the root. For kids, a pediatric pulpotomy may be a preferred option in some cases, removing the tooth’s diseased pulp but leaving the nerve in place.
Can Teeth Still Hurt After Root Canals?
There may be some slight tooth pain after dental root canal treatment, but you can relieve it with over-the-counter pain medication. If you’re experiencing tooth pain now, call our office today. A root canal in Oxon Hill may be your best option for finding pain relief right away.