There is so much mystery surrounding root canals. I had no idea what it was until I entered dental school over a decade ago. I wondered what these random files were, how much a root canal cost, is one root canal the same as the other, etc. Let me tell you how we do root canals in Allen, TX, and I will walk you through the top questions that we get asked regarding root canals.
We have three essential layers of teeth. The outer layer is enamel, the middle layer is dentin, and the inner layer is where all the nerves and blood vessels are. Teeth are living tissues that need blood, cells, etc. to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, when a cavity gets big, it goes through enamel and dentin and enters the blood vessel area. Once the bacteria get into the blood vessels and nerves, it tends to cause a lot of inflammation. This build-up pressure has nowhere to go and causes a lot of pressure on the nerves that are in the tooth. This pressure and pain are indicative of your typical bad toothache.
Once the cavity has gotten into the tooth’s inner layer, there is nothing left to do other than have the doctor perform a root canal. This involves taking out the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth and removing all the bacteria, pus, and inflammation.
For a detailed explanation of a root canal, click here. But basically, what the doctor does is first prepare the tooth. They remove all the cavities to make sure the tooth can be saved. There is no point in performing a root canal if the tooth has lost too much tooth structure and can't be saved.
Once the dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist) has removed the cavity, they will use select files to remove the blood vessels and nerves. You will have a lot of anesthesia, so you shouldn't feel anything unless the infection has gotten very large.
Once the doctor is finished removing the blood vessels and nerves, the dentist or endodontist will ensure the tooth is sanitary and ensure it is cleaned very well. The doctors will then fill your inner tooth with a substance called gutta-percha. This will aid in the strength of the tooth. The dentist or endodontist will also fill up the removed tooth structure with composite to strengthen the tooth.
After the root canal treatment (RCT) is completed, you should check with your dentist regarding needing a crown. It's typical to get a crown on a back tooth after the RCT but may not be needed on a front tooth. Your tooth is weakened after the large infection, and the only way to strengthen it is with a dental crown.
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Root canal treatments vary in cost, mainly due to insurance and the position of the tooth. If the tooth is nearer the back of your mouth, it is generally more expensive, and insurance can often cover a lot of the expenses of an RCT.
In general, root canal treatments can cost anywhere from $300 to $900 or more if you see an endodontist. Insurance may cover 80% of that, but it truly depends on your insurance.
Root canal treatment is necessary when your cavity has grown too big and has gone beyond the enamel and dentin. Unfortunately, you will likely be in pain before needing the root canal and will likely need a crown after treatment.
The price varies greatly depending on if you have insurance or how difficult the root canal is.
Thank you for reading this, and as always, if you have questions, please contact me at [email protected] and enter "Question for Dr. Nate" in the title. Also, if you are in the Allen, Texas, area, come in for a visit!