What is a Root Canal?

Most patients dread the idea of a root canal, but most are pleasantly surprised it is a very comfortable procedure! 

There is no need to worry, as a root canal is a helpful treatment to remove infection, eliminate pain and keep your original teeth as long as possible. It’s a great alternative to extraction and implants, which is a lengthier and more expensive process. 

In order to ease any concerns you may have, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about root canals to give you a well rounded understanding of the procedure.

What is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected roots of the tooth, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. When one undergoes a root canal, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed. 

What is the Process for a Root Canal?

Inside your tooth, beneath the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, is a soft tissue called pulp. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, which help grow the root of your tooth during its development. A fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

A modern root canal treatment is very similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments. 

During a root canal, the pulp and any damaged tissue is removed, the tooth is cleaned out and disinfected, then it is sealed with a large filling. Your dentist will also recommend that you cover this new filling with a dental crown to preserve the integrity of the tooth over the long term. This prevents the tooth from fracturing in the future. 

Why do I need a Root Canal?

Root canals are needed for a cracked tooth, a deep cavity or trauma to the tooth. Patients generally need a root canal when they notice their teeth are sensitive, particularly to hot and cold sensations. 

There are a few symptoms that mean you might need a root canal:

  • Severe pain while chewing or biting
  • Pimples on the gums
  • A chipped or cracked tooth that exposes the nerve of the tooth
  • Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
  • Spontaneous pain to a tooth that may ache during the night or when not eating
  • Swollen or tender gums surrounding a tooth
  • Deep cavity
  • Discolored or dark tooth

What are the Benefits of having a Root Canal?

The benefits of completing a root canal are: 

  • To relieve pain and infection
  • Keep the natural tooth intact which preserves the bone and ligament around the tooth
  • Avoid the complications of extracting the tooth
  • Avoid the expense and time of dental implants
  • Address an infection that may damage the surrounding jaw bone 
  • Prevent the spread of the infection and inflammation within the body

Will a Root Canal hurt?

Since patients are given anesthesia, a root canal is as comfortable as a regular dental procedure, such as a filling. Some patients may feel some tenderness for a day that can be alleviated by Advil or Tylenol. Getting a root canal is relatively painless but extremely effective. Most patients find the root canal procedure very comfortable and their imagination to be the worst part!

If you are concerned about the pain or any part of a root canal procedure, you can discuss your options with your dentist, including sedation, prior to booking your root canal treatment

What is the cost of a Root Canal in Calgary?

The cost of a root canal in Calgary varies depending on which tooth is affected and the number of canals in a tooth. Molar teeth can have 2 to 4 roots with 2 to 4 canals hence their fee is usually higher. Most dental insurance policies provide some coverage for endodontic treatment though.

Generally, endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must be replaced with an implant or bridge to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment and restoration.

Root canal treatment is an effective and relatively painless way to remove decay and infection in a tooth to preserve the natural tooth, avoiding complicated extractions or implant and bridge procedures. It is recommended to start with root canal treatment before moving to an extraction because it is always better to maintain the natural tooth in the long run.  Book a consultation today to discuss your options with one of our experienced and qualified Ambiance dentists.