Questions And Answers About Root Canals

Posted on: 11 November 2015

Root canals are endodontic procedures that involve the removal of the interior of a tooth. Inside a normal tooth, there is soft, living material called pulp. The pulp of the tooth houses the dental nerves. Thus, severe discomfort can result if the pulp becomes damaged, infected or inflamed. To relieve the pain and salvage your tooth, your dentist may prescribe a root canal. Still, many dental patients have questions about root canal procedures. Here are a few questions and answers to help you better understand root canals:

How long does a root canal procedure take?

A root canal may require up to two visits to complete. In addition, each visit usually lasts from 30 to 90 minutes. 

Two visits are often required because the treatment is broken down into two parts. The first session involves the removal of the pulp of the tooth, the filling of the tooth, the creation of a dental impression for crown fabrication and the placement of a temporary crown. During the second visit, your dentist may inquire about any discomfort that you are feeling since pain or discomfort would not have been noticed during the first visit due to anesthesia. The dentist will also remove the temporary crown and install the permanent one. 

What symptoms indicate that you may need a root canal?

Root canals are often needed due to an infection or inflammation inside a tooth. Here are a few symptoms that can indicate you need a root canal:

  • throbbing toothache
  • swelling around a tooth
  • foul-smelling liquid leaking from the gums adjacent to a tooth
  • increased dental sensitivity to heat and cold
  • a bump on the gums that resembles an acne cyst

What alternative treatments are available?

The only alternative to a root canal is usually an extraction. However, a dental extraction is generally not preferred because of problems that can ensue from a missing tooth, such as shifting teeth, bone loss and a negative impact on the patient's appearance. 

How much does a root canal cost?

The cost of a root canal varies depending on the number of canals within the affected tooth and the location of the tooth.

Front teeth tend to have less root canals than back teeth. As a result, a root canal on a front tooth may cost between $300 and $1,500. However, a root canal on a back tooth can cost between $500 and $2,000. 

If you are experiencing symptoms that you believe could be alleviated by a root canal, contact a dentist in your area to schedule a consultation. He or she will be able to determine if a root canal could benefit you.