What is a root canal?
Root canals are some of the most frequently performed dental procedures, with over 14 million performed yearly. Root canals can help preserve your natural teeth, and prevent more expensive tooth replacements, such as implants and dental bridges.
The tooth is made up of multiple parts, with pulp at the center of an enamel and dentin outer structure. Pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that connect to your teeth, which help preserve and build your teeth, as well as allow for sensation. The pulp of a tooth can become infected through a variety of causes, such as trauma to the tooth, decay, cracks, and constant dental procedures. If the pulp becomes infected, it can lead to swelling, sensitivity to pressure and temperature, as well as visible injury and pain in the surrounding gums.
Your dentist will make a prognosis based on your symptoms. Depending on the severity of the infection, your dentist may recommend a non-surgical root canal. A non-surgical root canal can remove any diseased pulp. The pulp is removed at the root of the tooth, and is carefully cleaned to ensure no infection remains behind. Then, the tooth is sealed to prevent further infection. This treatment involves a local anesthetic, and can take more than one dental visit, depending on the severity of the infection. Root canals are often the most successful treatment for pulp infection, with a 90% success rate. However, if your dentist determines that a root canal is not the proper treatment for you, they will update you on your treatment options and suggest other courses of action to best recover your dental health. Local anesthetic is administered during treatment to ensure the comfort of the patient, as well as laughing gas (nitrous oxide) if necessary. A root canal is a lesser medical procedure, and should not interrupt your routine more than necessary.
What happens after a root canal?
After your root canal is complete, a restorative plan will be sent to your dentist. In many cases, dental restoration is needed after the treatment. You should contact your dentist to see the needed steps to restore your teeth to optimal health a few weeks after your procedure is completed. A restorative plan will be made by your dentist in order to best determine what is needed to protect your remaining tooth and make sure there are no complications. However, complications are rare after a root canal, and further surgery is rarely needed. If something does happen, however, your dental office will be available at all times to answer questions and to set up a follow up appointment to ensure the health of your mouth. It is important to continue with your dental care routine in order to ensure the health of your teeth, especially after a root canal or other dental procedures.
The Cost of a Root Canal
A root canal’s cost can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the location of the affected tooth. However, root canal surgery is a much more cost-effective dental procedure than tooth removal and replacement.