A root canal is the most commonly performed endodontic procedures. It involves treating problems within the soft core of the tooth, also known as the dental pulp. This procedure can be used to save a natural tooth and prevent the need for restoration techniques such as implants or bridges.
The dental pulp is the soft tissue found inside the tooth from the top all the way down to the end of the root. It contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that provide nutrients to the tooth as it grows. Infection of the pulp can be caused by an untreated cavity, trauma to the tooth, cracks or repeated dental procedures. Patients with infected pulp may experience such symptoms as severe toothache, discoloration or swelling of the tooth, prolonged sensitivity to temperature or tenderness in the gums.
How is a root canal performed?
If it is determined that your pulp is diseased, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate it. Your dentist will make an opening in the tooth and into the pulp chamber and remove the damaged pulp. The canals of the tooth root are then thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This procedure usually involves local anesthesia and is typically completed in one or two visits, depending on the treatment needed. Root canal therapy is successful in about 90% of cases. Although many patients associate the root canal procedure with major discomfort, in actuality it is usually not painful. You will be able to drive home following your treatment, and you will most likely be ready to resume normal activities.
What happens after treatment?
After your root canal therapy is complete, a record of your treatment is sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office to schedule an appointment for a restoration soon after the root canal procedure. Your restorative dentist can determine what type of restoration will best protect your treated tooth. Complications are rare after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, please contact our office immediately. To prevent decay or another infection, practice good dental hygiene on a daily basis.
How much will it cost?
The cost associated with a root canal procedure can vary depending upon such factors as which tooth is infected and the extent of damage to the tooth. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth extraction and replacement with an artificial tooth.