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Root Canal Therapy

When a tooth has become damaged or infected to the point that it may compromise oral health or even general health, a root canal may be necessary to save it from extraction. Root canal therapy is a standard dental treatment that can not only improve the health and function of the affected tooth, but also its appearance. Here at Smile for Life Dental, we focus on providing the most comfortable and effective root canal procedures possible in order to effectively save the tooth and protect it from further deterioration.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal procedure is designed to repair a tooth that is badly infected, decayed, or damaged. Root canal therapy falls under the dental field known as “endodontics,” and can ultimately be necessary to save a tooth that is suffering from structural weaknesses that may increase risks to oral health and function. A tooth that is damaged in some way can lead to a serious infection of its pulp and nerve chamber, potentially leading to severe pain, tooth loss, and even greater risks of life-threatening general health conditions, including stroke and heart attack. With root canal therapy followed by placement of a custom dental crown, our dentist can treat the infection, save the tooth, and renew its health, structure, and appearance.

I have put off going to the dentist for years because I hated going. I had to finally go in for a root canal. So glad I found Dr Lodding and staff everyone is so friendly and gentle and make sure i am well informed and comfortable every time!

Brian Murphy

September 20, 2018

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How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

There are some tell-tale signs that a tooth may need root canal therapy; however, it is important to know that some individuals who have an infected tooth may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms. This is why it is crucial to make sure you attend the recommended amount of dental check-ups each year so that any potential concerns can be identified.

Some of the more common overt symptoms of a tooth that may be in need of a root canal include:

  • Mild to severe pain, pressure, or discomfort in the tooth
  • The development of an abscess in the area surrounding the tooth. This is typically characterized by what appears to be a lump or growth in surrounding tissues; however, some abscesses may not be prominently visible.
  • Swelling, redness, and/or a discharge in the area of the tooth
  • A tooth that has a discolored appearance
  • A tooth that is very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
  • Tender, inflamed gums
  • A chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing

It is very important for individuals who are experiencing any of the symptoms of an infected tooth to schedule an oral exam as soon as possible. If root canal therapy will be required, our dentist can develop a customized treatment plan to reduce symptoms and renew the health of the affected tooth.

How Is a Root Canal Procedure Performed?

A root canal is typically performed with a local anesthetic applied to the area of tissue around the tooth that is being treated. This is often all that is necessary to minimize discomfort during the procedure; however, our practice offers sedation dentistry techniques for patients who would like to feel even more relaxed. Once the area is properly numbed, our dentist will carefully and precisely disinfect the nerve chamber of the tooth, removing bacteria and sterilizing the area. The nerve chamber is then sealed. We generally recommend that patients have a custom dental crown placed on the treated tooth following root canal therapy. A crown can dramatically reinforce the structure of the tooth and protect it from additional damage. Dental crowns can also significantly enhance the aesthetics of the tooth.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

If just one root canal is being performed, this can usually be accomplished in one appointment. The treatment is often completed in 90 minutes or less; however, the total duration of the procedure will depend on the particulars associated with each patient’s unique needs. For patients who need root canal therapy on multiple teeth, we typically recommend a series of appointments rather than having them all performed on the same day. We may also advise that patients have their dental crown placed in a future appointment instead of having it placed immediately following root canal therapy. Our dentist can talk with you about the best options for your needs during the initial consultation.

What Is Recovery Like After a Root Canal?

Many patients can return to their normal routines on the same day of the root canal procedure; however, please be aware that it can take some time for the effects of the local anesthetic to fade once treatment is complete. Tenderness in the treatment area is common, and you should refrain from chewing food with the treated tooth for a few days. After this time the tenderness should have dissipated. Over-the-counter pain medicine is often enough to control any post-treatment discomfort and soreness. We recommend that patients call our office if side effects such as pain, swelling, an uneven bite, or others last more than a few days after root canal therapy.

How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

The national average cost of a root canal procedure typically starts in the $700 range for a tooth in the front area of the mouth, and between approximately $800 to $1,100 for teeth in other areas. Although these are average costs, the price of root canal therapy is usually not the same for each patient due to the unique factors associated with an individual’s customized treatment plan. These factors include the severity of the concerns being addressed, the complexity of the procedure, the precise location of the tooth that is affected, whether a dental crown is being placed on the tooth, and whether sedation techniques are utilized during the treatment.

Once your root canal treatment plan is developed during the initial consultation, a member of our team here at Smile for Life Dental will provide you with a total cost estimate and answer your questions. Root canal therapy is often covered by dental insurance policies, and we can help you determine whether your plan provides benefits for this treatment. Our practice also accepts many different forms of payment, and we work with CareCredit®, a dental financing agency that offers a variety of convenient monthly payment plans for qualified applicants.

To learn more about root canal treatment or other procedures available at our practice, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Smile for Life Dental today.