Root canal treatment is used to treat an infected tooth and can be used to help save a tooth by preventing extraction. Also called endodontics, it works by removing the infection and cleaning out the tooth’s canals, before filling in the tooth.
What Is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is designed to remove an infection of the pulp, the soft tissue at the center of the tooth. When an infection takes hold of the pulp, the bacteria can cause the pulp to die. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves, and the dentine and enamel help to protect the inside of the tooth. One tooth can have a single root canal, or it can have several, which affects how long the treatment might take.
When there is an infection in the tooth, root canal treatment offers an alternative to extraction. The pulp is removed from the tooth, and the root canals cleaned out. The tooth is then filled and sealed with either a crown or a filling. This allows the patient to keep their natural tooth, which in most cases is better than having an extraction and replacing a missing tooth with artificial replacements.
Who Needs Root Canal Treatment?
If you have an infected tooth, you might be a candidate for root canal treatment. The symptoms of a tooth infection can include pain when biting or chewing, a swollen gum, pus, facial swelling, or the tooth becoming a darker color. As the infection gets worse and the pulp dies, the symptoms might stop. Although the pain may have stopped, the infection is still there. Some infections might be spotted through X-rays and dental checkups, even if there are no symptoms.
Anyone who has a toothache should be sure to see their dentist. It’s also important to have regular dental checkups, which will catch infections that don’t have symptoms. If an infection is detected, extraction is sometimes chosen as a solution. However, root canal treatment allows the tooth to be saved so that extraction isn’t necessary.
What Are The Benefits of Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment offers an effective way to address a root canal infection. The primary benefit of root canal treatment is that it allows the patient to keep their natural tooth. The result is that your teeth can still look completely natural, even with a filling or crown. The treatment prevents the infection from spreading to other teeth or causing other problems such as abscesses or decay of the jaw bone.
Root canal treatment is also usually very straightforward. It is no more uncomfortable than having a normal filling, and can sometimes be carried out in one appointment. Root canal treatment can also be very cost-efficient. While an extraction on its own might sometimes be cheaper, it can lead to further costs. For example, it might require a denture, bridge or dental implant to be fitted. If the missing tooth isn’t replaced, it can cause problems that later need to be fixed, such as the other teeth moving and affecting the patient’s bite.
How is Root Canal Treatment Is Performed?
Root canal treatment can be carried out in one or two appointments. Before carrying out the treatment, your dentist might take some X-rays to get a good look at the infection.
The first step in the treatment is to remove the infected pulp. This is done by drilling a small hole into the tooth. An anesthetic is administered so that the patient can’t feel anything, and a dam (a small rubber sheet) is placed around the tooth to keep it dry. After drilling into the tooth, the dentist will use small tools to clean out the root canals and remove the pulp. Once the pulp is removed, the canals will be cleaned out and enlarged so that they can be filled better.
When treating smaller teeth such as incisors and canines, there is usually one root with one canal. Larger teeth that are designed for chewing have two or three roots, which each have one or two root canals. This means that larger teeth generally take longer to treat. Some teeth might require more than one session to complete the cleaning and enlarging of the root canals.
After the tooth has been cleaned, it will need to be sealed. Sometimes a temporary filling might be put in place, which can include medicine to help clear up the infection. The tooth can also be filled on the same day so that the patient doesn’t need to come back for another appointment. A paste and rubber compound are used to fill the interior of the tooth, and the access hole that was drilled will be filled with a filling. There might also be further restoration required, such as a crown, to help protect the tooth.
How Long Does Root Canal Treatment Recovery Take?
After a root canal, the tooth can feel sensitive. This can usually be addressed using over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen. It’s normally possible to go back to your normal activities the next day.
Until the root canal treatment is finished and the tooth has been permanently sealed, it’s important to avoid too much chewing on the affected side of the mouth. Biting on hard foods should be avoided and chewing in general should be minimized. This will help to prevent the tooth from breaking and from being contaminated with food. After having a root canal treatment, take care of your tooth in the same way as you would look after your other teeth, with regular brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash.
The Cost of Root Canal Treatment in Houston, TX
The cost of root canal treatment in Houston, TX can vary. It is influenced by the tooth that is being treated and how severe the problem is. An incisor or canine could cost around $500 to $1,000 for the root canal treatment, not including any restoration, while a molar could cost around $800 to $1,500. Many dental insurance providers will provide coverage for root canal treatment and restoration.
A root canal treatment can help you to save your tooth if the pulp is infected. If keeping the natural tooth is a priority, root canal treatment can make it possible.