Myth: Root canal treatment is awfully painful.
Fact: Root canal therapy is no more painful than having a filling placed. The ill-reputed “root canal pain” is largely pre-treatment pain that comes from your dental infection that requires treatment.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root Canal therapy is a dental treatment to preserve a natural tooth that’s badly decayed or infected. It is required when the nerve or pulp of your tooth is affected. Such infection or decay may arise from deep decay, impact of an adjacent “bad tooth”, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, cracked or chipped tooth, large fillings or face injury.
Root Canal Procedure
The procedure basically involves removal of the infected nerve and pulp, followed by cleaning of the debris. After this the tooth is sealed. Some doctors do it on the same day; others may give you a later appointment for sealing the tooth, in which case, a temporary filling is done to keep out contaminants. After sealing, if required, your dentist or endodontist may suggest capping or crowning the tooth to protect it from breaking. Your tooth is now fully functional again.
Well, no. Once the tooth grows out of the gums, the nerves have no real function except to provide sensation of heat or cold. Removal of the damaged nerves doesn’t affect functioning of your tooth in any way.
Why Root Canal?
Root canal infection causes the damaged nerve tissue or pulp to break down, so that bacteria start to thrive within the pulp chamber. The pulp is the soft area within the center of your tooth. The legs or roots of your tooth have root canals that house the nerves. These root canals travel from the root of your tooth into the pulp chamber that contains blood vessels and tissues which nourish the tooth. When bacteria starts growing within the pulp chamber, there is severe infection, that can cause bone loss around the tip of the tooth, drainage problems and swelling that runs into the face and neck. A root canal treatment helps restore the tooth back to proper functioning.
Root Canal symptoms: Signs to show that you need root canal treatment
Though symptoms may not always be present, you need a root canal treatment when:
- Severe pain is experienced in the tooth, when pressure is applied or while chewing.
- Your tooth shows heightened sensitivity to heat or cold, even after removal of source.
- The tooth becomes discolored.
- A recurring pimple appears on the gums.
- You experience swelling and tenderness in nearby gums.
Root Canal Cost
At a ballpark range, the procedure costs around $350-$540 for an incisor and $520-$800 for a molar, if performed by a general dentist. Expect a 50% increase if an endodontist is treating you (Endodontists are dentists who specialize in treatments involving the pulp and tissues.) However, many dental insurance policies cover endodontic treatment. Restoration charges are over and above.
Root Canal Alternative
It’s best to preserve your natural tooth- the only alternative is to extract the tooth and replace it with a bridge, implant or partial denture. However, these procedures are more costly and time-taking than root canal therapy.