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Root Canal Therapy (Root Canal Treatment)

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About Root Canal Therapy

When the soft inner section of the tooth, known as the pulp, becomes infected, the entire tooth begins to die. A root canal treatment removes the pulp from the tooth to stop the infection from continuing and spreading to the other teeth. The root canal will also relieve the patient’s pain and allow proper healing. Once the pulp is removed, the dentist will need to use a filling material inside the tooth or place a crown over the tooth to protect it from damage and future infections. A root canal will also stop the bacteria from entering the blood and infecting other parts of the body. Patients with heart problems, including congenital defects and artificial heart valves, are at higher risk of developing an infection and should take antibiotics before and after their root canal treatment.

What to Expect

Before the root canal begins, the dentist will numb the patient’s teeth and gums with a local anesthetic, as well as nitrous oxide gas for further patient comfort and relaxation if needed. Once the patient is prepared, the dentist will carefully remove the pulp from the decayed tooth, both the visible portion of the tooth and the root below the gum line. After the tooth is removed, the dentist will place a crown or filling material to strengthen and protect the treated tooth.

Treatment Aftercare

After the root canal treatment, the patient’s lips and gums will remain numb for a few hours, but the patients will be able to drive and leave to recover at home. If the patient is feeling any pain after the procedure, they can take an over-the-counter painkiller, following the instructions on the label. If the dentist placed a temporary crown over the tooth, the patient will return after the permanent crown is created and sent back to the office. The dentist will then place the crown and check the fit. The patient should return for annual dental exams and professional cleanings twice a year, or as recommended by the dentist.

Insurance Coverage

The cost of the root canal will depend on how many teeth are being treated and where the teeth are located in the mouth. The front teeth cost from $300 - $1,500, bicuspids cost from $400 - $1,800, and molars cost $500 - $2,000. Additional costs may be added for emergency cases if the patient needs a same day or weekend root canal. If a crown or other dental implant is used, that cost will be added to the patient’s total cost.

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Pulp Protection

If you have a toothache or infection, make an appointment to have the dentist look at your tooth and talk about treatments, including a root canal. A root canal can prevent more serious dental problems and relieve your pain.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.