Many people say that one of the worst pains to experience is a toothache. Those sharp, throbbing aches accompanied by swelling and a burning sensation are reasonable indications that you need to see your dentist. The pain you’re experiencing might be due to damage to the pulp (the soft, inner part of your tooth).
Some reasons the pulp is injured, inflamed, or infected include:
- Poor dental care. Developing cavities and leaving them untreated will result in deep decay affecting the pulp.
- Dental procedures. In some cases, repeated dental procedures done on the same tooth will increase the likelihood of injury to the tooth’s pulp.
- Direct injury. If you have some accident delivering force to your mouth, teeth can crack or chip, injuring the pulp. It’s vital to note that injury can occur even if there is no visible damage to a tooth.
When the pulp of the tooth is injured, you will need to have a root canal done.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is an endodontic treatment procedure in which your dentist removes the pulp that’s become inflamed or infected. The pulp is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that reaches the tip of the roots and connects to the root’s surrounding tissue.
What to Expect From a Root Canal
You might not be thrilled about going to your dentist, so how do you know if you need a root canal? Aside from the prolonged pain, other signs you might need a root canal are:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- The tooth becoming discolored
- Your gums feeling tender
Root Canal Procedure
Minimize the fear of visiting the dentist by knowing what to expect when you show up to get a root canal. The procedure will include:
- The first step is to identify the tooth that’s inflamed or infected by taking x-rays.
- A local anesthetic is applied to the gums surrounding the affected tooth. Expect an uncomfortable, but quick pinch from the needle used to apply the anesthesia, and then the area will go numb.
- An opening is created in the crown (the visible part of the tooth) to get to the pulp. The pulp gets removed with special tools that can reach into the canals of the tooth.
- After the tooth’s cleaned out, your dentist might apply a topical antibiotic. Then they will fill the space with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha and tooth cement to seal the root canals.
- The opening made in the crown is then sealed with a temporary filling to give the tooth a few days to heal.
- You will have to return to the dentist for them to verify they eliminated the infection. If the root canal were successful, your dentist would replace the temporary filling with a permanent filling.
Root Canal Price
Depending on the type of tooth affected, the average cost of a root canal will range from $700 to $1,800. If you have dental insurance, it could cover 50% to 80% of the total root canal cost.