Root canal treatment is a procedure to relieve pain from bacteria that has entered the pulp (blood and nerve supply) of the tooth causing inflammation. This procedure is done on teeth that are past the point of healing on its own. This is where the infected pulp is removed, the area is cleaned with a disinfectant solution and then filled with a biocompatible material. By having this procedure, you will be able to save your natural tooth rather than having the dentist pull it out and replace it with a fake tooth.
To prevent requiring a root canal treatment or an extraction due to pain, it is important to visit a dentist regularly and as soon as you start to feel any pain in the mouth.
As scary as a root canal treatment may sound, your dentists here are well trained in root canal treatments, and they will do their best to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.
With the help of a numbing agent (anaesthetic), the pain during the procedure will be minimised.
When would you need a root canal treatment?
It’s important to know that not all pain experienced by your teeth would require a root canal treatment. Sometimes, the pain experienced can be treated with a filling instead of a root canal treatment. This will be diagnosed by your dentist, which is why it is important to book an appointment as soon as you experience pain so your dentist can give you the least invasive treatment option and timely advice.
If the pain has progressed and if a root canal treatment is required, some signs and symptoms to look out for are the following:
- Extreme, lasting pain with cold food/drinks
- Random pain without any triggers
- Pain with hot food/drinks
- Pain when chewing
- Pus or pimple-like swelling on the gums
Everyone experiences pain differently, therefore, if any pain is experienced your dentist will be the best person to help diagnose the problems and give possible treatment options.
Are there any risks associated with a root canal treatment?
As with any surgery, complications may arise. However, at the consultation visit with your dentist, they will be able to provide you their honest opinion on the complexity of your tooth and any concerns that they may have. However, keep in mind that the risks of a root canal treatment is much less than leaving the tooth untreated.
Why not just leave the tooth untreated?
As there is an ongoing infection in the pulp, by leaving the bacteria in the tooth, it can eventually spread to other parts of your face and body. The remaining infection can also cause a pimple-like swelling on the gums and can cause severe pain. These symptoms can be quite dangerous to your overall health as it can begin to impact other vital organs.
What happens during a root canal treatment appointment?
Appointment 1: Clinical evaluation
Your dentist will need some information about the pain that you’re experiencing to give you an accurate diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan. Some tests that they will do may include the following:
- Clinical exam
Appointment 2: Initial root canal treatment
- Numbing agent (anaesthetic) applied to the teeth being treated
- Rubber shield placed over the tooth to prevent bacterial contamination
- The dentist will drill a hole in the tooth to be able to see and clean the root canals and remove the infected pulp
- There are usually 1-4 canals in each tooth that need to be cleaned, shaped and disinfected
- Place antibiotic medication in the canal for further disinfection
- Place a temporary filling to seal the root canal treatment from bacteria
Appointment 3: Completion of treatment and permanent filling
When the disinfection treatment procedure is finished, the dentist will fill the canals with a biocompatible material called gutta percha. A final filling will be placed on top of the tooth to protect the root canal treatment and so you can use your tooth like normal.
Appointments usually take around 30-90 minutes depending on how complex the procedure is. Sometimes, it can take more than three appointments before a root canal treatment is completed. This may be because your dentist wants to make sure that all the infection and symptoms have been resolved before permanently closing the canals.
Surprisingly, root canal treatments are quite similar to getting a filling done; it should not hurt any more than a filling and it just might take a few more appointments!
How much will a root canal treatment cost?
Unfortunately, there is not one set price for a root canal treatment. This depends on a variety of factors including the number of canals in the tooth being treated, if a crown is required after the procedure, and the length of treatment.
At this clinic, the initial consultation fee is approximately $60, however additional charges for other tests such as x-rays may be required.
- Root canal treatments for front teeth are roughly $200-250
- Root canal treatments for the back teeth are roughly $250-400
It’s important to check with your insurance provider to see if any of the costs for the root canal treatment is covered before you book an appointment. Give us a call and we would gladly provide you with the specific codes to ask your health insurance provider for more details.
How long until I can eat like normal again?
After a root canal treatment, it may take a few days before your tooth feels back to normal. It is important to always wait a few hours before eating after receiving a numbing agent (anaesthetic). This is to assure that the numbness has worn away and will prevent accidentally biting your tongue or cheek. Additionally, to prevent any damage to the root canal treated tooth in between appointments, avoid applying too much pressure on the tooth until the tooth is permanently filled when your treatment is completed.
Will I need to take any medications after a root canal treatment?
Sometimes the dentist will recommend some pain killers or antibiotics after a root canal treatment, however, this varies based on your pain tolerance and the extent of disease. Your dentist will be able to give you more information on their recommendations at your appointments.