All You Need to Know About Root Canals

You just found out you need a root canal. That’s a big procedure, and you’re nervous and unsure what to expect. Relax: we’re here to explain what a root canal is, including warning signs and costs.

What is a Root Canal?

To preserve a tooth that has become infected, inflamed, or is decaying, dentists perform root canals. Teeth can become damaged due to underlying decay; cracks or chips in the tooth, which can be caused by facial trauma; or even needing frequent dental procedures in the same area of the mouth.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

It’s easy to tell if you’ve got a skin infection, since you can see it. But how do you know your teeth are infected or decaying and in need of a root canal?

Your dentist can inspect your teeth and let you know if a root canal seems necessary, but there are a few warning signs to know. If you experience the following, make a dentist appointment to get things checked out:

  • Tooth is sensitive to heat or cold
  • Pain when chewing
  • Swollen or darkened gums
  • Painful gums
  • Pimples on the gum
  • Cracked, chipped teeth

What to Expect With Root Canals

While people think that root canals are extremely painful, they’re no more painful than having a cavity filled. If you’ve had fillings, you have a good idea for what to expect in terms of the procedure and recovery.

A root canal begins with an x-ray, which gives your dentist a better picture of the damaged area.

On the day of the treatment, the affected area will be numbed with anesthesia, just like with a filling. The dentist then drills into the tooth and remove the bacteria, damaged nerves, and pulp. If there’s an infection, a topical medication will be applied to treat the infected tissue. Once the area is completely clean, with no damaged tissue left inside, the dentist seals off the hole created to clean out the tooth.

Since root canals often take place when teeth are cracked, chipped, or severely damaged, cosmetic dentistry may be needed after the root canal. This will take place at a later date and is individualized, so you’ll learn more when preparing for the root canal treatment.

Something many people ask about is the cost of a root canal. Dental insurance policies cover the treatment, so your out of pocket expenses will vary based on the terms of your dental insurance plan. The treatment itself ranges from $500 to $1,500 depending on whether the affected tooth is an incisor or a molar; these estimates don’t factor in the reconstruction work needed after a root canal.

Schedule a Dental Consultation Now

If you experience warning signs of a root canal, get your teeth evaluated by our Tampa dentist. We’ll determine whether a root canal is the right procedure, talk about your options, and work with you to restore the appearance of your smile after treatment.