What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is a common, straightforward, and comprehensive way to care for infected roots at the source, treating the infection and alleviating discomfort. This discomfort is often experienced as inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth.
Your teeth have roots with narrow openings called canals which contain blood vessels and nerve fibers that provide nutrition and sensation to your teeth. If the vessels and nerves become infected or decay, noticeable pain is usually the result.
A root canal procedure involves the precise removal of the affected tooth’s soft center or pulp. The pulp consists of blood vessels, cells, and connective tissue. The pulp is considered the “live” portion of a tooth and, when infected, is often the first alert of an issue with the tooth’s structure.
If your pulp becomes infected, a root canal treatment is required to remove the pulp to save the tooth structure.
Although pain and sensitivity are often the most common symptoms of an infected pulp, other reasons for needing a root canal procedure may include:
- A crack, chip, or hole in the tooth’s enamel
- Deep decay
- A tooth that has experienced multiple dental procedures, weakening the enamel
- An injury to the affected tooth
- Tooth discoloration
- Swollen gums
- Pain when you chew
- Tooth mobility
Do I need a root canal?
You should be proactive in speaking with a dentist if you think you might need a root canal. If left untreated, a cracked tooth or a tooth with a cavity can lead to serious infection, bone loss, or the loss of the tooth itself.
Common signs of damage to your pulp include:
- Gum or facial swelling
- Drainage from the tooth
- Tooth pain while chewing
- Swelling and tenderness of nearby gums
- Oversensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold food or drink
What to Expect During Root Canal Treatment
At Alpine Dental Health, we believe transparency is the foundation of a solid relationship. Knowing what to expect from your procedure helps alleviate any worry you may feel leading up to your appointment. Not to worry: we are here to care for you and want you to feel comfortable as quickly as possible.
The first signs of the need for a root canal are pain and tenderness near or on the affected tooth. After a thorough oral examination, our experienced dentists will discuss your treatment options with you, personalized to meet your individualized oral health needs.
Seven steps comprise a standard root canal procedure.
7 Steps of a Root Canal Procedure
1. Localized Anesthesia is administered in the gums near the affected tooth. Patients will remain awake for the entirety of the procedure.
2. Removal of the tooth’s pulp is then performed.
3. Topical antibiotic is administered to the affected tooth and surrounding area.
4. Sealer is applied to the tooth along with a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. It is heated and pressed into the tooth canal to prevent infection, acting as a permanent filling.
5. A temporary filling is placed to ensure the infection has subsided.
6. X-rays are taken to confirm the infection is no longer present.
7. A permanent filling and crown are placed. This is common practice since the tooth that has undergone nerve infection is weak and brittle and placing a crown on top gives the tooth the needed strength and durability to provide maximum long-term protection.
What is the cost of a root canal?
Root canal costs vary depending on the procedure, but we don’t want you to let that get in the way of optimal oral health. If you have any questions about cost, let’s discuss it together as part of your personalized treatment plan. We have a variety of payment options, plus our own affordable Smile Plan for anyone without dental insurance.
How can I prevent needing root canal treatment?
In general, basic hygiene will reduce your odds of needing a root canal:
- Brush and floss your teeth each day
- Have a dental checkup and cleaning every 6 months
- Don’t avoid getting a filling if your dentist recommends one to deal with any tooth decay. TH longer you leave your tooth untreated, the higher the chances the bacteria will spread and infect the nerve requiring a root canal.
Speak with the Dental Experts of Colorado
A solid patient-dentist relationship and a bright smile are always our biggest goals.
At Alpine Dental Health, we understand the importance of a healthy and happy mouth. If you’re experiencing pain, discomfort, decay, or have recently experienced considerable mouth trauma, the root of your tooth may need some extra attention and care.
The good news? We are here to help relieve your pain quickly. Our attentive dentists understand that various outside factors can impact your oral health. That’s where we come in, helping you restore your confidence, health, and peace of mind.
If you’ve been experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, don’t delay treatment! We are here for you every step of the way.
Request an appointment today to discover the benefits of root canal treatment.