Like many of our patients, you may have questions about root canal treatment and how…
Understanding The Root Canal… No Long A Pain.October 9, 2014
Quick! What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the words root canal?
If you are anything like our Dawson patients you probably thought one of the following:
- How much will the dentist torture me?
- I have so many questions
- Will my benefits cover it?
Root canal therapy is a dental term that is often discussed, but not completely understood. Many people believe it to be a painful and mysterious dental treatment, but we want to set the record straight and put your mind at ease. The truth is that advances in dental technology have made root canal therapy an effective and desirable treatment for saving a damaged tooth. The procedure is now much quicker and more comfortable than ever.
At the core of every tooth is an area of soft, connective tissue that runs from the crown (the part you see) through to the tip of the root. This is referred to as the “pulp”, or nerve of the tooth, and it contains the blood supply and blood vessels. If the pulp becomes damaged, infected or dies, your dentist may recommend root canal therapy in order to save your tooth. Often, the only alternative to this type of treatment is to remove the tooth.
Symptoms that indicate the need for Root Canal Therapy may include:
- Tooth sensitivity with hot and cold
- Unexplained tooth pain
- A “pimple” on the gums near the tooth
- Swelling of the face
- Swelling of the gum around the tooth
- Pain on biting or chewing
- A loose tooth
- Or, you may have no symptoms at all
Issues with the pulp are often diagnosed using an x-ray. Treatment may be provided by your dentist, or by a pulp specialist, called an Endodontist.
What Causes Damage to the Pulp of a Tooth?
Some possible causes include:
- A tooth that is broken or cracked
- Decay underneath a filling
- A deep cavity
- A tooth that has sustained a heavy blow in the past or present
- Untreated gum disease or other ongoing dental problems
A damaged tooth may become infected or die when the bacteria in your saliva comes into contact with the pulp of the tooth. Not removing an infected pulp can result in the infection spreading and an abscess forming which may begin to destroy the bone levels around the tooth.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it is best to be proactive about seeing the dentist, attending regular check-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene habits.
What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?
Every person is unique, but here are the usual steps that occur during treatment:
- Your dentist will start by making an opening in the top of the tooth in order to access the pulp.
- The pulp, or nerve, will be removed and the canal (where the nerve was), cleaned.
- To prevent an infection, an antibacterial medication may be placed into the tooth or prescribed.
- The canal and tooth will then be filled.
- Caution – Your dentist will recommend a crown for this tooth which will result in an additional cost.
How Long Does The Treatment Last?
With proper at-home and in-office care, the treated tooth can last for the rest of your life!
How Much Will The Root Canal Treatment Cost?
Root canal treatments are more likely than not, covered through your dental benefits. Our dental team will help you better understand your coverage and provide you with payment options, should the treatment not be covered.
Dawson Dental Centres are knowledgeable, caring dentists with 17 locations across Ontario, including Downtown Toronto, Cambridge, Aurora and more. Until October 31st, we are offering 50% off a Comprehensive Exam and any necessary x-rays at participating Dawson Dental Centres.