When you think about root canal treatment, your mind might go to scary places with images of teeth on fire and unbearable pain. But that’s not always the case. In fact, a lot of people have been through this process without much fuss. It’s not as painful as it sounds and doesn’t even involve drilling into a tooth. An untreated infected tooth can lead to other complications such as endocarditis, arthritis, jaw infection, and swelling of the gums. If left untreated for an extended period of time, it can lead to even more problems in the future such as osteogenic sarcoma (cancer). These are some common questions people ask about root canal treatment: What is it? What does it involve? How long does it take? How will I feel afterward? And how much does it cost?
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a procedure to treat infection within the root canal of the tooth. The pulp inside the root canal has become inflamed and infected and needs to be removed. Usually, an infection in a tooth will spread to the surrounding soft tissue and other parts of the body. This is because bacteria are very small and travel through the bloodstream. If the infection reaches the bloodstream, it can travel to other parts of the body.
Root canal treatment is a treatment sequence for the infected pulp of a tooth which is intended to result in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. Root canal treatment aims to save the tooth from extraction by removing the diseased pulp inside the root canal and replacing it with a filling material called gutta-percha. After root canal treatment, a crown is then placed over the tooth to protect it from cracks and breakage in the future.
Why do you need a root canal?
An infected tooth can be a serious problem that needs to be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, an infection can spread to other parts of the body and even cause death. The first sign of infection may be pain and sensitivity of the tooth. This can happen when bacteria get inside the tooth and start to grow. The bacteria release toxins and irritants that lead to pain and damage to the tooth. An untreated infected tooth can lead to other complications such as endocarditis, arthritis, jaw infection, and swelling of the gums. If left untreated for an extended period of time, it can lead to even more problems in the future such as osteogenic sarcoma (cancer).
In the popular imagination, a root canal is a painful, stressful, and uncomfortable procedure. But this is actually quite far from the truth. In reality, root canals are completely painless, and are actually the best way to get relief from the discomfort of a damaged, infected tooth. If you need a root canal, the pulp inside your tooth is likely infected. Left untreated, the infection may spread from the tooth to the gum and jawbone surrounding the decaying pulp
What happens during a root canal procedure?
To begin the root canal procedure, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic on the tooth to be treated. This can be done through small injections near the tooth or via a needle inside the gum. The anesthetic will be in your bloodstream within 10-20 minutes, and you may be able to feel the area become numb. Your dentist will then start working on the tooth.
The first step is to remove the infected tooth pulp. This can be done through an incision made inside the tooth or by the use of a hand instrument. After the infected pulp is removed, the root canal is cleaned out to remove all traces of bacteria. Then, the dentist will place a filling material called gutta-percha inside the root canal to replace the infected pulp. This material will act as a barrier against infection and last for years before needing any replacement or maintenance.
How long does a root canal take?
Root canal treatment can take anywhere between 30-45 minutes to complete. It all depends on the severity of the infection and the type of tooth being treated. Teeth that have sustained extensive damage due to decay or trauma may require more time for the procedure.
The root canal procedure is completed in two separate visits to ensure that the tooth is thoroughly cleaned out, sealed up, and protected from further damage. A simple root canal procedure can take between 30 and 60 minutes if the tooth has one canal. But you should be prepared to spend about 90 minutes in the dentist’s chair for a root canal appointment. A root canal takes significant time because your nerve needs to be carved out, rinsed, and disinfected.
Will you feel any pain after the procedure?
The majority of patients report experiencing almost no pain during a root canal procedure. But that doesn’t mean the whole thing is without side effects. Some of the possible side effects of a root canal procedure include: – Swelling and/or bleeding of the gums around the tooth being treated. – Discomfort while chewing or while the treated tooth is touched. – Pain in the jaw due to pressure applied by the dentist during the procedure. – Intensive headaches caused by massive overall pressure applied by the dentist.
You may be surprised where you feel pain after surgery. The site of surgery is often not the only area of discomfort. You may or may not feel the following: Muscle pain: You may feel muscle pain in the neck, shoulders, back or chest from lying on the operating table. Healing depends on your general health and the type of surgery you had. Large or deep surgery incisions can take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. People with medical problems or prescribed certain medications may take longer.
Is there any discomfort after the procedure is complete?
The majority of post-procedure discomfort will be attributed to the pressure applied by the dentist during the root canal procedure. The pain is usually short-lived, and is often treated with over-the-counter pain medications. The treated tooth will also be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures for the next few weeks. This is a normal reaction to the root canal procedure and should subside after a few weeks. After a root canal is complete, the tooth may be sensitive to pressure and sweets. This is normal and should subside within a few weeks of the procedure being completed.
How much does a root canal cost?
The cost of a root canal treatment varies from dentist to dentist. The cost also depends on the severity of the infection and the number of teeth being treated. Root canals that are not treated can result in much higher costs. The infection may spread to the jaw and other organs and may require antibiotics and surgery to treat. This can cost thousands of dollars and even lead to death if left untreated. There are many ways to lower the costs of root canal treatment such as asking for treatment or consultation quotes, asking for a discount, or negotiating the price. All these methods are discussed in detail in the article. You should also keep in mind that the cost of treatment will be worth the investment if it prevents the infection from spreading and causing more damage in the long run.
1: Pulp Revascularization of a Necrotic Infected Immature Permanent Tooth: Case Report and Review of the Literature
2: Endodontic Treatment Outcomes