You have probably heard of root canals and may have had root canal therapy performed at one time or another. However, many people don’t understand just what root canals are and why they are so important for your oral health. We’ll explain root canals, what’s involved in treatments, the recovery process, and how much they cost.
What is a Root Canal?
People often talk about getting a root canal done. In fact, what they are really getting is root canal treatment or therapy, also known as RCT or endodontic treatment. A root canal is a condition in which bacteria get into the soft innards of a tooth, called the pulp. If root canal therapy is not performed soon enough, the tooth can die. In more serious cases, the illness can spread to the rest of the body and can even be life-threatening.
RCT involves removing bacteria from the infected tooth canal. During root canal treatment, the infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and then filled and sealed. This process prevents reinfection and saves the tooth. A root canal is actually a fairly common issue. The American Association of Endodontics estimates that more than 15 million root canals are performed in the United States annually.
What are the Signs That I Need Root Canal Therapy?
Here are the most common symptoms indicating that you may need root canal treatment.
- Severe tooth pain while chewing or biting.
- Pimples on the gums.
- A chipped or cracked tooth.
- A lingering sensitivity to heat or cold, even after the hot or cold sensation is removed.
- Deep decay or darkening of the gums.
Such signs may indicate a root canal or another issue such as cavities or gum disease. No matter what the cause, if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s a strong indication that it’s time for a dental visit and examination. If an infected tooth is untreated for too long, bone loss occurs. In some cases, it may be too late for root canal treatment and the tooth will have to be extracted.
What can you expect after a root canal procedure? Your mouth will initially be numb for a few hours following the procedure. For the first few days after a root canal, some patients experience sensitivity, swelling, or inflammation. Others experience an uneven bite or a reaction to the medication prescribed by the endodontist. Regardless of symptoms, it’s almost always recommended to have a follow-up appointment to observe your progress. After the initial numbness and any other symptoms wear off, you can eat and drink normally, including alcohol.
The cost of root canal treatment will vary depending on various factors, such as differences in pricing between dentists, how complex the problem is, insurance coverage and which tooth is affected. A ballpark estimate for the root canal treatment itself, which doesn’t include restoration following the procedure, could range from $500 to $1000 for an incisor and $800 to $1500 for a molar.
An extracted tooth must be replaced with an implant or bridge to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration.
Root Canal Treatments Can Save Your Teeth
If you have symptoms of a root canal or any discomfort regarding your teeth or gums, it’s important to get an examination to find out what’s going on. Ignoring signs can lead to infection and the loss of teeth, not to mention a great deal of discomfort. If you have a root canal or any other dental issues, Today’s Dental provides expert, affordable care for the Omaha area. To learn more about our services or to make an appointment, contact us.