tooth root

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a type of dental treatment for an infected tooth. The procedure involves removing the nerve and pulp tissue from the infected tooth, followed by a thorough cleaning of the infected area. The next step involves filling and sealing the tooth using a rubber-like material.


When would I need a root canal?

Root canal treatment becomes necessary when dental X-rays indicate your nerve and pulp tissue have a bacterial infection. The source of the bacterial infection is usually tooth decay, but trauma and structural damage (eg, cracks) are other possible causes. If left untreated, a bacterial infection of the pulp can lead to loss of the affected tooth, and the infection may spread to cause damage to the surrounding tissues and adjacent teeth. Signs of a pulp infection can include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • A dull ache or sharp shooting pain in the tooth
  • Swelling around the gums of the tooth
  • A tooth that is noticeably discoloured compared to the others


How long does the procedure take?

Root canal treatment may require more than one or more appointments, depending on the severity of the infection and the type of infected tooth. A simple procedure may take an hour or less. A complicated root canal procedure may require multiple visits of approximately 90 minutes in length.


Will I feel the root canal?

You won’t feel the root canal treatment since the dentist will administer a local anaesthetic to desensitize the surrounding area.


Will root canal treatments be painful?

Your doctor will use local anaesthesia before beginning the procedure to ensure you don’t feel any pain. You may also use over-the-counter pain relievers in case of any pain or discomfort.


What are the side effects of root canal treatment?

Some patients might feel sensitivity and slight discomfort after the procedure. This feeling of discomfort or sensitivity usually subsides after three to five days. Complications might also arise in case of an undetected crack in the tooth or a breakdown of the sealing material. However, your dentist will be able to notice these issues in subsequent visits.


How quickly will I recover?

In most cases, patients resume their regular schedule immediately after completing treatment. If the tooth was very painful prior to the root canal, or if it had been infected for a long time, the recovery period may take a little longer. However, taking good care of your oral health is important to enhance the recovery process.


What are the costs associated with a root canal?

Like many procedures we perform at Dental Choice, the cost of a root canal will vary depending on a few variables associated with your case. The best way to minimize costs is not to delay booking an appointment if you suspect a problem. The longer you wait, the more complications may arise which will involve a great cost.

Before proceeding with your root canal treatment, your dentist will discuss pricing with you. Some factors that may come into play with the overall cost include:

  • Location of the tooth that needs to be repaired — molars can have four or more nerve canals, as opposed to the one root nerve canal found in front teeth
  • Condition of the affected tooth and the severity of the cavity
  • The process used to repair the tooth
  • If the tooth has already undergone a root canal
  • Receiving a filling versus a dental crown


For more information or to book an appointment, contact a Dental Choice clinic near you. We’re here to help.

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