All About Root Canals: Everything You Should Know
Dentists, without a doubt, are one of the most important healthcare professionals in the world. With their vast knowledge and experience, they perform a variety of dental procedures, and cleanings, and recognize and diagnose a plethora of oral diseases and infections.
One of their most popular and important procedures is a root canal treatment. Below we’ll discuss everything you need to know about root canals such as:
What Is A Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure where infected pulp and nerve at the root of the tooth are removed by an endodontist. A root canal is typically recommended when the tooth’s pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures, or trauma but more on this later.
Root canals are known for relieving severe tooth pain and saving the natural tooth from extraction. It is a common misconception that root canals are painful; however, with modern anesthesia and advancements in dental techniques, most patients experience minimal discomfort during the procedure; especially when you have an experienced root canal specialist such as Dr. Chung.
To sum up what a root canal is, its a safe procedure to try and save an infected tooth rather than taking it out. An extraction is the removal of an infected or damaged tooth from out of its socket. Root canal therapy helps save your natural tooth, whereas an extraction removes the tooth.
How To Tell If I Need A Root Canal?
Oftentimes, people with toothaches overlook them and think they’ll pass on their own. It’s important to understand the difference between a simple toothache, to one that is prolonged, painful, or foreshadowing a possible tooth infection.
Below are tell tale signs you may need a root canal procedure.
Root Canal Sign #1: Severe Toothache
The first warning sign is the severity of your toothache.
If you’re performing basic, daily tasks such as biting or chewing and feel a strong pain deep in your tooth that often expands into other areas surrounding your tooth, for extended periods of time or in regular succession, a root canal may be necessary to help alleviate and care for the pain.
Allowing severe toothaches to continue without proper, professional care can lead to long-term health issues.
Root Canal Sign #2: Sensitivity
Sensitivity to heat or cold is another sign that a toothache may require a root canal.
While it’s common for foods or beverages that have extremely high or low temperatures to cause slight pain to your teeth, constantly feeling pain or sensitivity with foods not as hot or cold are signs the nerves or blood vessels in your tooth are damaged. The pain experienced by this can range from a mild ache to a sharp, sudden pain.
Root Canal Sign #3: Tooth Discoloration
A third sign is a discoloration caused to your tooth. When the pulp in your tooth becomes infected, the color of that tooth changes and stands out from the rest.
Damaged nerves underneath your tooth or trauma caused to the tissue can cause anything from a yellowish color to a grayish-black appearance.
Tooth discoloration can be caused by several other factors; however, you should still consult your dentist when you notice it, especially if the color is significantly different compared to the rest of your teeth.
Root Canal Sign #4: Broken Tooth
Along with a change of color of your tooth, any damage caused to your tooth can create health issues. Eating hard foods or participating in contact sports can cause a crack or chip on your tooth. When this happens, the nerves underneath your tooth are exposed, which can lead to infection from bacteria.
This infection can spread into your bloodstream and other parts of the body and cause other problems. To prevent the spread of the infection and the pain that comes along with it, a root canal may be necessary.
Root Canal Sign #5: Swollen Gums
If your gums or the areas surrounding them are swollen, that could be because of an undiagnosed problem within your gums.
Any sensitivity, pain, or discomfort should be a sign for you to contact your dentist for an examination. If the swelling and pain don’t go away after a period of time or become more significant, a root canal may be the fix to see improvement.
If you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, you may need a root canal procedure and you should consider making an appointment with your dentist.
Who Performs Root Canals?
As stated before, root canals are typically done by endodontists. Endodontists are highly trained dentists such as Dr. Chung in Rockford IL who help repair tissues inside your tooth. They have a higher level of education than general dentists.
Endodontists perform anything from complex root canal procedures to treating traumatic injuries in your teeth. If you are considering making a root canal appointment, make sure your dentist is qualified to perform this procedure.
Although endodontists are the primary specialists who deal with root canals, dentists can perform them as well. Many general dentists undergo significant dental training to become qualified and understand all the necessary information about root canals.
However, some dentists may not have enough experience and expertise to perform a root canal, or the tools in their dental practice to perform one. For this reason, a general dentist may refer you to an endodontist instead if they do not perform them.
Dr. Chung at The Teeth People is a certified and trusted endodontist in Rockford IL capable of treating root canals. As matter fact, we perform root canals all the time!
Root Canal Procedure
About 15 million root canal procedures are performed every year in the United States, as reported by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). So root canals are a very common dental procedure and much simpler than people think.
The procedure itself usually requires a few visits, but nothing to worry about. It starts with the endodontist examining a radiograph of your tooth taken using dental X-rays. After this, a local anesthetic is applied to your tooth so you won’t feel any pain and be comfortable throughout the procedure.
Once your tooth is numb, a protective sheet named a “dental dam” is placed over the area to keep the tooth clean from any saliva during the procedure.
An opening is made at the crown of your tooth. A variety of small utensils and instruments are used to clean the infected pulp inside your tooth. Once the opening is cleaned, the root canal is filled with a material called gutta-percha.
Both the gutta-percha and an adhesive are placed inside to make sure the root canal is properly sealed.
Before the tooth is restored, the temporary filling inside your tooth will be removed by your dentist. Once you have made your final visit with the endodontist, a crown is placed on the tooth to protect and restore it back to a healthy, fully functioning state.
Because of the local anesthesia used on your tooth during the procedure, a root canal treatment is often times a pain-free experience. The most you’ll experience is mild soreness or some numbness on your tooth.
How Much Does A Root Canal Cost?
As for the cost of a root canal, in Illinois, the average price can be anywhere from $600 to $1,200 per tooth. Having dental insurance, however, can help decrease the total cost of the procedure. This is why dental cleanings are so important. They can help prevent costly dental procedures or stop them before they become expensive.
If you are concerned about cost, talk to your dental office and ask if they accept your insurance if you have any. They should be able to verify with your provider if they cover root canal treatments.
At The Teeth People we accept a wide range of dental plans! We also provide discounts for those paying out-of-pocket as we feel everyone should have access to affordable dental care in Rockford.
Our in-house insurance plan also helps lowering the cost of a root canal as well as other services such as dental cleanings for you and your family!
If you have questions regarding root canals please give our office a call at (815) 226-5432 or send us a message below.
We will be happy to clarify any concerns over the phone before making an appointment.
Think You Might Need A Root Canal Done? Get A Consult
A root canal is needed when a tooth’s pulp has become infected or damaged, however, a dentist can only recommend if a root canal is necessary or even possible after seeing you in person. Get in touch with your dentist if you are experiencing tooth pain or believe you have cavities. Hint: Cavities can also lead to an infected tooth!
Meet Dr. Chung
Dr. Thomas Chung is a licensed dentist practicing in the Rockford, IL area for over 10 years.