Why would you need a root canal?
A root canal, sometimes called endodontic therapy, is necessary when the soft tissue inside the tooth's root canal becomes inflamed or infected. This can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or chips and cracks. Sometimes an injury, even without visible damage, can cause damage to the root canal tissue. Root canals remove infection, relieve the pain, and are an effective procedure, instead of having the tooth removed.
What are the risks of delaying a root canal?
Tooth infection can create painful swelling, sensitivity to food and drink temperatures, and can make chewing difficult. Tenderness near the lymph nodes can occur as well as nearby gum and bone health deteriorates. If left untreated, an infection can lead to abscesses that can cause bone loss in the jaw. Abscessed tooth infections can spread to other parts of the body.
What is the process for treatment?
A dentist, using very small instruments will clean pulp, pulp chamber and root canal, shaping the inside of the root canal and removing decay and infection. The opening will then be filled and sealed with a rubber like material called gutta percha. To protect the filling, a crown is placed over the top of the tooth. Modern medicine and techniques make the whole procedure comfortable.
How much does a root canal cost?
Cost varies depending on the severity of infection, shape of the tooth, location of the tooth. Sometimes the root canal is not accessible, the root is badly damaged, or there is inadequate bone support and a root canal wouldn't be effective treatment. If it is determined that a root canal would not be an effective treatment, a tooth extraction might be a better option.
What are post-operative care instructions for a root canal?
If you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling) call your dentist immediately. Learn more about post-op care here.