When most patients learn they need a root canal, one of two concerns fill their minds:
- This is going to hurt
- This is going to be expensive.
DID YOU KNOW that a root canal is one of the more common dental procedures performed every year? And though it sounds scary at first, it’s actually quite similar to a cavity filling. In fact, it can be completed in a few short patient visits—depending on the condition of your tooth.
In this article, our goal is to put your mind at ease of any concerns you may have about root canals. But first, let’s talk about why you might need this treatment in the first place.
Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
If you’ve experienced any trauma to your tooth or issues with a previous filling, your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment. Though this might not sound like fun news, it can actually be life-saving! Well, life-saving for your tooth, at least.
Inside your tooth, beneath the enamel, is a soft tissue called pulp. This area contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. When bacteria enters into this area (also referred to as the pulp chamber), due to an untreated cavity, cracked or chipped tooth, etc., it can cause you to feel pain in the tooth and develop a serious infection.
In the past, if a tooth became diseased or the nerve was injured, the tooth would be extracted. Thankfully today, a root canal procedure can save your natural tooth and prevent the need for an extraction and dental implant.
How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?
Your dentist will be able to prescribe the best treatment for your situation, but if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, be sure to schedule an appointment to get your teeth checked out right away!
- Trauma to the tooth
- Cracks, chips, or breaking of the tooth
- Repeated dental procedures
- Extended tooth sensitivity
- Tooth pain from chewing
- Darkening or discoloration of tooth
- Inflammation in your gums
Remember, the longer you avoid a root canal, the more prone your teeth and gums will become to infection. This could lead to costly, invasive procedures down the road or tooth extraction. Let’s also not forget that an infection in your tooth can spread to other areas of your body. So, never delay treatment when it comes to your oral health and wellness.
Does Getting a Root Canal Hurt?
A root canal procedure typically requires a local anesthetic. This should result in little to no pain and discomfort during your treatment. If you are nervous about experiencing pain, we encourage you to contact our team for support.
We know a procedure like this can sound scary, but rest assured that when you’re a Dakota Dental patient, you have the complete care and support of a highly experienced, dedicated team. We’ll make sure to work at your pace and help you feel comfortable and calm throughout the entire procedure.
What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure
After your dentist determines that a root canal is the best solution for your tooth, you’ll schedule an appointment for treatment.
On the day of your procedure, the following steps may occur:
- Your dentist will take x-rays of your tooth and then administer a local anesthetic.
- Once your tooth is numb, a dental dam is gently placed over the affected area to isolate your tooth. This helps keep the area clean during treatment.
- Next, your dentist will make an opening in the crown of your tooth and begin removing the infected pulp.
- Once removed, your dentist will clean and reshape the inside of the root canal.
- After your root canal is thoroughly cleaned, your dentist will fill and seal the area.
- After the procedure, you’ll schedule another visit to remove the temporary filling and replace it with a crown to help restore your natural tooth.
As every person is different, your procedure may vary or include additional steps. It’s important to meet with your dentist to discuss your concerns and to ask any questions before your procedure. This way, you know how to prepare for your appointment.
Root Canal Recovery Time
Most patients recover fairly quickly after a root canal—similarly to how they would after a cavity filling. You’ll want to wait until the numbness in your tooth wears off before eating or drinking. This usually takes about 2-4 hours.
As we mentioned before, every person is different, so your recovery time may take longer or less than others. Be sure to ask your dentist about recovery time and follow all instructions, including what foods to eat/avoid and which type of OTC medications to take if you feel any discomfort.
Root Canal Treatment Side Effects
Common side effects after a root canal procedure include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Mild swelling
- Mild discomfort
- Uneven bite
Again, everyone will experience these side effects individually. If you’re experiencing pain or extended discomfort, be sure to contact your dentist!
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?
Depending on your insurance provider, you may pay out of pocket or pay a percentage to cover the costs of this treatment.
At Dakota Dental, we never want a patient’s finances to get in the way of them receiving optimal dental care. If you’re concerned about the cost for a root canal, our team can contact your insurance carrier to get an estimate before treatment begins, so you don’t need to worry about unexpected costs later.
We also offer flexible financing options through Care Credit, which allows you to receive the treatments you need now and make affordable payments on it throughout the year.
Get Your Smile Back with Dakota Dental
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we mentioned, don’t wait too long to make the call to our wellness center!
At Dakota Dental, you’ll discover experienced dentistry you can trust—all at a price you can afford. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and help you get the treatment you need to smile brightly well into the New Year!