A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures with well over 14 million performed every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for more costly dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is the dental pulp. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that serves to form the tooth’s root. After complete root formation, the pulp’s function is minimal. This allows for the treatment of this part of the tooth in the event that it becomes injured. Inflammation and infection of the pulp may be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures such as fillings or crowns. Symptoms of a pulpal (root canal) problem may present as visible injury or swelling in the area of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature, pain in the gums or with bite pressure on the tooth. Many times a root canal issue will have absolutely no pain or awareness on your part but instead be diagnosed on exam by your dentist.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. Nitrous oxide sedation is available by reservation, if you like. Typically, you will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.
The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.