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Root canal treatment

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is performed when damage caused by tooth decay triggers an infection that reaches deeper dental layers. During a root canal procedure the dental specialist or the endodontist removes the pulp from the inside of the tooth and fills it, in order to prevent the further development of infection, which may spread to other teeth. The most common consequence of a root canal infection is dental abscess, the painful accumulation of puss under the tooth.

A root canal procedure implies considerable discomfort, but it always relieves toothache, stops infection and promotes healing.

Root Canal Treatment – An Overview

The soft area within the center of the tooth is called the pulp chamber. Within the pulp, the nerves extend down the root canals, along with blood vessels and connective tissue, where the tooth is nourished from.

The nerves of the tooth play a sensory role and are not essential to the tooth’s overall health and function. Nevertheless, when the nerve tissue is damaged, bacteria begins to multiply within the pulp chamber. This results in root canal infection and typically will lead to an abscessed tooth (pus-filled pockets formed at the end of the roots).

The most frequent consequences of root canal infection include:

  • Swelling in the face, neck or head.
  • Bone loss around the root
  • Drainage problems
  • A hole through the side of the tooth

The following warning signs usually indicate the need for a root canal treatment:

  • Persistent pimples on the gums
  • Swelling in the nearby gums
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Prolonged pain to cold or warm temperatures
  • Severe toothache when chewing

The Root Canal Procedure

During the procedure, the endodontist numbs the gums with a jelly substance and then injects local anesthetics. Then the decayed tooth is separated from the other teeth with a rubber sheet, which also helps to stop the liquids from flowing down the throat.

The dentist uses several tools to remove the pulp and reach down along the canal  to clean it. Then fills the inside with medicines to control bacteria and infection and filling materials to cover up the gap and seal the canal.

After the procedure, lips and gums remain numb until the anesthetic wears off. Painkillers are used afterwards to control the discomfort, which lasts for a day or two. Usually repeated sessions are necessary to clean the tooth thoroughly from the infected material.

At the last session the ultimate covering layer is placed, which can be a dental crown, a cap or permanent filling, all with protective and aesthetic functions.

Root Canal Surgery

When the desired outcome cannot be reached with a standard root canal treatment, root canal surgery is required, mostly in order to:

  • Revise the end of the root for suspected cracks or fractures
  • Remove parts of the root that were impossible to clean during the treatment
  • Clear up an unresponsive infection

Root Canal Cost

When treating a root canal cost depends on the number of teeth to be treated and the type of procedure each of them requires. A single-rooted tooth treatment can range between $400 and $1,000, while multi-rooted tooth can go up to $500 -$1,400.

The major percentage of the root canal cost, however, can be covered by your dental insurance plan, so before you start the sessions, consult your insurer.