Although the treatments for tooth replacement have advanced significantly in recent decades, preserving natural teeth is highly preferable whenever possible. Even the most structurally complete tooth replacement appliance, the dental implant, cannot fully replicate the form and function of a natural tooth. Root canals can help patients protect their smiles and their oral health in the face of teeth that have been damaged by injury or advanced tooth decay.
An injury to the tooth can expose the pulp to the oral cavity and the bacteria it contains. Decay that has reached the tooth’s inner core has a similar effect. When those bacteria cause an infection in the pulp, the condition is quite painful. Furthermore, a disease that has reached the tooth’s pulp can readily access the bloodstream and spread elsewhere in the body. Therefore, if you’ve been diagnosed with such a problem, it’s vital to get a root canal promptly to address the issue.
Dr. Chei performs root canals in our office, and the procedure takes less than two hours. Sedation is available to patients who request it. Many patients find that sedation is not necessary, however.
In fact, despite the perception of many people that root canals are extremely painful, that’s typically not the case. Read the FAQs below for a more realistic description of the sensation associated with a root canal, as well as other questions that you may have about root canal treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure that removes diseased pulp from the inner core of the tooth and then seals the empty root canal chamber to reduce the risk of future infection. In performing a root canal, Dr. Chei will first numb the area around the targeted tooth and then create a small hole in the tooth to access the root canal chamber. The root canal chamber is thoroughly cleaned, removing any diseased pulp material. Dr. Chei then fills the empty root canal chamber with an inert substance called gutta-percha, which has qualities similar to rubber. Teeth that have been treated with a root canal are more susceptible to breakage, so Dr. Chei may also place a crown on the treated tooth as an additional measure of protection.
Is a root canal painful?
You’ve probably heard horrible things about root canals, right? The good news is they’re not accurate. Thanks to advances in the instruments used in root canals, most patients report that the procedure is no more painful than having a cavity filled. Also consider that a tooth with infection in the pulp will be far more painful than the root canal, which will ultimately relieve your discomfort. If you still have significant anxiety around this procedure, Dr. Chei can also recommend a form of sedation that will put you at ease during the appointment.
Why do I need a root canal?
Dr. Chei may recommend a root canal in a case of injury to the tooth that causes a break or cracks so deep that the pulp chamber is exposed to the oral cavity. Root canals are also vital in cases of large cavities that have infiltrated the interior portion of the tooth. When bacteria reach the pulp, a severe toothache develops, and surrounding teeth can be at risk for infection as well. In these cases, a root canal can clear the initial infection and help the patient avoid having the tooth extracted.
How much does a root canal cost?
The cost of a root canal may vary from patient to patient and includes related expenses such as imaging, restorations, and sedation if the patient chooses it. Dr. Chei will inform you of the anticipated costs of your root canal at your initial consultation. We accept many forms of payment, and insurance may cover part of the cost of this procedure. Our staff will inform you about your payment options at your first visit.