We hear the term and we squirm: root canal. The very words can send shivers up your spine. While no one wants a root canal, and we certainly don’t ever hear anyone electing for one, the fear that surfaces from the possibility of needing a root canal can be toned down a bit. Thanks to modern dental advancements in the way we perform root canals and the pain management and sedation options available, root canals are not the pain causers they were even 20 years ago. Still, you may have questions about your upcoming root canal appointment – and we don’t blame you. Here are some common questions we get asked in our office at Premier Dental Center in San Antonio.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure that involves cleaning out the inside of the tooth, often referred to as the ‘pulp’. Pulp is the soft tissue substance underneath your enamel. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the infected pulp, clean the remaining soft tissue and inside of the tooth, fill it (similar to a cavity filling), and then seal it up to prevent re-infection or infection spread.
Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
There are many causes for needing a root canal, but the biggest is due to infection. Whether your tooth was cracked or broken in a dental emergency, infected due to poor dental hygiene or poor diet, or you have the luck of genetics, an infection can spread into the gums and interior of the tooth relatively quickly. Because the pulp, or soft tissue, is full of nerves and connective tissue, these infections can cause extreme pain and sensitivity. When this happens, your dentist will recommend a root canal.
Why Won’t They Pull My Tooth?
While it may seem a lot easier to just opt for tooth extraction, it can actually cause more issues for you down the road – to your teeth and to your wallet. Once a tooth is extracted, the healing process can take a lot longer than it would after a root canal. In addition, while a root canal can be completed in as little as one appointment lasting just a couple of hours, a tooth extraction will require the patient to come back to the dentist for a dental implant or bridge to replace the missing tooth. This creates more subsequent dental work, longer healing times, and more money out of pocket.
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?
Depending on your insurance, the cost of a root canal will vary on the severity of the infection and which tooth the infection is impacting. If the root canal needs to be performed on a molar, it can be more costly simply because of location and size. If you do not have insurance, please talk to our finance specialists about your payment options. Again, a root canal is much more affordable than a tooth extraction in the long run.
Have More Questions?
We are proud to have a highly dedicated and experienced team of dentists at our clinic in San Antonio. If you have more questions about root canals or your dental health, please schedule an appointment today. We would be happy to care for your teeth and make you feel at ease during any dental procedure.