Root canal treatments, also known as endodontic therapy, are needed when an untreated dental cavity damages the nerves or pulp of a tooth. Once the pulp becomes infected, an abscess or pocket of pus from a bacterial infection can form. The infection must be treated in a timely matter to avoid potentially severe health concerns and relieve the often extreme pain you may be experiencing.
Root canal therapy from Total Care Dental is easy and fairly painless, removing infected material and helping to restore your oral health.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure and form of oral surgery performed to remove infected or damaged tissue (the "pulp") from inside a tooth. Pulp is a soft tissue containing nerves and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. When the pulp becomes infected or damaged, it can cause severe pain, often leading to an abscess (a pocket of pus) if left untreated.
Root canal procedures are generally performed to save a tooth that is otherwise healthy but has been damaged (such as a cracked tooth) or infected from within. The procedure can be done in one or more visits to the dentist, depending on the severity of the infection or damage to the tooth. There are around 15 million root canal procedures performed each year, with more than 41,000 procedures every day1.
Types of Root Canals
Anterior Root Canal: An anterior root canal is performed on a tooth in the front of the mouth, such as an incisor or canine. Anterior teeth typically have only one root, making the procedure straightforward.
Premolar Root Canal: A premolar root canal is performed on a premolar tooth, located behind the canine teeth. The procedure is more complex than an anterior root canal due to premolar teeth having two roots.
Molar Root Canal: A molar root canal is performed on a molar tooth, located in the back of the mouth. Molar teeth typically have three or more roots, making the procedure even more complex and time-consuming than an anterior or premolar root canal.
Apicoectomy: An apicoectomy is a type of root canal surgery performed when the tip of the tooth's root is damaged or infected. Your dentist will remove the damaged or infected tissue and seal the end of the root with a filling material.
Root canal treatments are necessary when an untreated dental cavity reaches all the way to the pulp or if tooth trauma causes nerve damage. Once the pulp becomes infected, it can begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (known as an abscess). The infected pulp may be painful and will require treatment as it cannot heal on its own.
If you are having tooth pain, don’t wait. Schedule a dental appointment to get your tooth checked. A small infection may only need a filling for treatment. Catching a problem before an infection spreads to the pulp of your tooth avoids the need for a root canal in the first place. Once your tooth is infected, you need treatment as soon as possible. Failure to get a root canal can lead to more widespread infection in the rest of your mouth.
Root Canal Therapy in Madison: How the Treatment Process is Done
A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The damaged nerve tissue or pulp has to be removed to prevent further infection, swelling, bone loss and drainage problems in the root. An alternative treatment would be to extract the tooth, but this is not usually recommended. Tooth extraction costs more than a root canal, takes a longer treatment time and requires additional procedures for the adjacent teeth and tissues.
Although root canals are said to be quite painful, many patients report treatment is no more painful than getting a filling. In fact, the tooth pain leading up to the root canal procedure is more painful than the treatment itself.
A Typical Root Canal Procedure
Diagnosis: The extent of the infection and shape of the root canals are examined from an x-ray.
Pulp Removal & Replacement: Local anesthesia is used near the affected tooth. A hole is drilled in the tooth, removing pulp, bacteria, decayed nerve tissue, and other debris using root canal files.
Crown Placement: The canal is filled in, preventing further infection.
Some dentists prefer to seal the tooth in the same appointment, while others choose to wait a week and treat the tooth with medication to ensure the infection is gone. If the tooth is not sealed the same day, a temporary filling protects the hole in the meantime. Usually, a core build-up and dental crown, or a cap to cover the tooth, are recommended by our Madison restorative dentistry team for patients who have undergone root canal therapy.
After your root canal, your tooth may be sensitive for a few days due to inflammation. Over-the-counter pain relievers should allow you to return to your normal daily activities the next day. If good oral hygiene is practiced at home in addition to regular dental visits, your restored tooth can remain healthy.
Root Canal Payment Plans
A painful infection should not be ignored because of financial concerns. Many Madison area patients believe they cannot afford root canal treatment without dental insurance. At Total Care Dental, this isn’t true. Our financial dental plans make everything from a root canal to a typical checkup affordable for everyone. We accept cash, personal check, credit cards, CareCredit, Illumisure, and most major insurance plans.
Root canal therapy is a minor, routine procedure designed to prevent further deterioration, restore functionality, improve aesthetic appearance and stabilize a tooth that has experienced some form of severe damage through infection or years of normal wear and tear.
If you experience prolonged swelling of the jawline, discomfort or extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, seek attention immediately. General discomfort, discoloration of the tooth, or having a permanently bad taste in your mouth are also potential symptoms of an infection. The longer you wait, the less likely your procedure will be effective, or even possible without extraction.
If left untreated, not only will a root canal infection get increasingly painful, an abscess can form and become life-threatening over time by entering the bloodstream and causing toxic shock. Antibiotics may suppress some of the symptoms temporarily, but cannot cure the infected pulp. The main benefit of a root canal is you get to keep your original tooth and avoid having it extracted. Other advantages to saving a natural tooth with a root canal treatment include efficient chewing, keeping a natural appearance, and keeping a normal biting sensation.
The root canal process can be uncomfortable. However, advancement in modern medicine and equipment has improved the process dramatically. TCD Madison’s dental professionals will work together with you to ensure the procedure is as painless and quick as possible. We provide you with the proper tools and pain management advice for when you leave our office. Whatever your dental concern may be, our team will form a plan concerning pain treatment that is designed specifically for you based on your individual case.
The average cost of a root canal ranges from $700 to $1400. The total cost of a root canal procedure can depend on the severity of damage to the tooth, which particular tooth is affected, and whether you have a dental insurance plan that offers a form of coverage for the procedure. Keep in mind the additional costs needed in many cases for a follow-up appointment where you receive a dental crown to seal the tooth.
Your dentist will recommend a root canal procedure if you have a tooth that is infected or damaged and cannot be repaired with a filling or crown. Root canals can be more expensive and time-consuming than other dental treatments, but are an effective last-ditch effort to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. If you have a tooth that is causing you pain or discomfort, talk to your dentist as soon as possible for the best course of action.
Root canals can be performed in a single visit in some cases. Single-visit root canals are most common if the tooth is not severely infected or damaged and you don’t have underlying health conditions that could lead to complications. In most other cases, your dentist may recommend you return for a second visit to clean up infected tissue and to place a crown over the tooth. Dental Inlays and Onlays could be an option but consult your dentist.
No Insurance? We've Got You Covered.
Total Care Dental offers multi-level payment options for a variety of dental care services at our Madison, WI location. Enjoy routine checkups, cleanings, x-rays, periodontal preventative care and more without the hassle of dealing with insurance companies that don't value your time or health needs.