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Root Canal Treatment

Inside each of your teeth is a collection of soft connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves called the dental pulp, which helps to keep your teeth healthy during growth and development. Sometimes, as the result of genetics, poor dental hygiene, or injury, this dental pulp can become inflamed or infected, forming a pus-filled pocket at the tip of the tooth’s root called an abscess. Once this occurs, the only way to save the tooth is with root canal treatment.

At Bright Now! Dental, we know healthy teeth are important for a healthy life. That’s why we pride ourselves on providing exceptional dental care like root canal treatment at an affordable price. If you have an infected tooth, you need the proper treatment. The dentists at Bright Now! Dental are experienced in the latest root canal treatment methods, so they can save your tooth and relieve your pain right here in our comfortable, convenient offices.

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How do I know if I need root canal treatment?

There are several symptoms that could indicate you may need a root canal, with pain and discomfort being the primary symptom. You may notice pain when pressure is applied to the tooth (such as during eating), intense sensitivity to cold or hot food or drinks, and persistent sharp or dull pain. Additional and more severe symptoms might include fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, or the presence of pus pockets on the tissue near the base of the tooth. Some people may experience none of the symptoms but have an abscess in its early stages detected by their dentist. 

If your dentist suspects you have an abscess, the first step they will take will be to order an x-ray of the potentially infected area. This image taken will not only confirm or deny their suspicion, but it will also help them understand the size and severity of the infection. If your dentist determines that you do indeed have an abscess, he or she will discuss your best options or treatment, which will likely include a root canal. Additionally, they may prescribe a round of antibiotics to help your body fight against the infection while reducing any pain until you can be treated. 

While most board-certified dentists have been trained on how to perform root canal treatments, there are some factors that may prevent them treating every patient. Depending on things like the severity of the infection or if the roots have an irregular shape, a general dentist may refer his or her patients to a specialist called an endodontist, whose primary focus is on root canal treatment. 

Why is an infected tooth so painful?

When a tooth’s roots become infected, the bacteria causing the infection will spread to the surrounding tissues, causing an abscess to develop and grow. This accumulation of pus will apply pressure to the nerves within the pulp while simultaneously eroding the root of the tooth. Left untreated, there can be significant long-term consequences, including tooth loss or the spread of the infection into the bloodstream, jaw bone and, in rare cases, even the brain tissue. Because of these potential health issues, it is essential that an abscessed tooth be treated in a timely manner, and typically with a root canal. 

Can I avoid root canal treatment?

While you cannot–and should not–avoid root canal treatment if you have an infected tooth, there are several preventative measures you can take to prevent an abscess from developing in the first place. 

  • Daily brushing and flossing is the simplest way to keep your oral health in good shape. 
  • Biannual visits to the dentist will allow for  the early detection of any significant health issues.
  • If you notice indications of gum disease, such as redness, bleeding during your hygiene routine, or swelling between the teeth and in the gums, inform your dentist right away.
  • If you notice signs of tooth decay or a cavity, such as bad breath, increased sensitivity in a particular tooth, or a visible dark spot on the tooth, let your dentist know immediately. 

However, sometimes with even the best oral care, an infection in your tooth can develop, making root canal treatment necessary. 

How much does root canal treatment cost?

Root canals are generally considered a necessary treatment for an infected tooth. Because of this, most dental insurance plans will cover part of or all of the associated costs.

The actual cost of treatment varies from patient to patient, but there are several factors that can affect how much you or your insurance might have to pay, such as: 

  • If the treatment is being done by a dentist or an endodontic specialist.
  • The local economy in the area.
  • The location or size of the tooth. (Teeth that are easily accessible and have only one root, such as front teeth or bicuspids, cost less to treat than premolars or molars, which have multiple roots and are more difficult to get to.)

If you have an infected tooth, root canal treatment is absolutely essential, and you should never have to go without it because of inability to pay. At Bright Now! Dental, we work hard to make quality, professional dental care affordable and accessible to everyone. In addition to accepting most major dental insurance plans, Bright Now! Dental also offers our own OneSmile Dental Plan as well as flexible financing and payment options so you can receive the care you need without the financial burden. 

What is the root canal procedure?

Before the procedure, you will be administered a local anesthetic into a nerve near the infected area to numb it. You may experience vibrations, smells and sounds during the procedure, but any actual pain should be reported to your dentist or endodontist immediately so that they may treat you appropriately. Other procedural protocols to prep the tooth and your mouth may include isolating the tooth with a piece of plastic, as well as inserting cotton into the surrounding areas to keep them dry of saliva. 

Once the anesthetic has taken effect, a small hole will be drilled in  the center of the tooth, exposing the dental pulp and tooth roots. The dentist will remove the pulp and any other infected tissues and the center of the tooth will be cleaned with a sanitizing solution to remove any remaining bacteria. The tooth will be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, which is heated and pressed into the walls of the teeth to seal them off. Next, a composite resin or metal amalgam is used to fill the hole, similar to the way a cavity is filled. Lastly, the dentist will apply a temporary crown so the tooth can begin healing. You  will need to return in one to two weeks to have a permanent crown installed. This will prevent additional decay, cracking, and other damage to the newly restored tooth. 

What happens after root canal treatment?

Following a root canal procedure, you may experience some slight discomfort or sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks, since the area has experienced some mild trauma, but the pain should not be overwhelming or unbearable. You can use sensitivity toothpaste and over-the-counter pain medication as needed. Additionally, your dentist may recommend you continue or begin a round of antibiotics to make sure that all the bacteria causing the abscess is gone. 

The aftercare for a root canal is relatively simple but important. During the time you have the temporary crown, it’s important to avoid certain foods, especially very sticky or crunchy foods, as these may damage the crown or the treated tooth. Once the permanent crown is in place, you can treat the tooth just like any other. Daily maintenance and routine dentist visits will ensure the tooth remains healthy. 

Root Canal Treatment at Bright Now! Dental

Bright Now! Dental offers convenient, affordable, and comprehensive dental services–including root canal treatment–for patients of all ages. We believe good oral health is important for good overall health, so we make it easy for you to get the care you need with multiple retail locations that are easy to get to; flexible scheduling options, such as extended hours and Saturday appointments at some offices; and a variety of financing and payment options. We also accept most major dental insurances.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an infected tooth, don’t wait; receiving treatment as soon as possible may not only save you the cost of more complicated procedures in the future, but it may also save your tooth from extraction. Find the Bright Now! Dental nearest you to schedule an appointment!