Root canal treatment questions are common for patients who need this procedure or think they might need it. Here are the answers to the most common questions that we get at Matthews Family Dentistry. Hopefully, the answers to these questions will allay your fears about this procedure and help you to recognize how important it is to your oral health.
Root canal treatment is a procedure used to prevent tooth extraction. This treatment removes inflamed root pulp that could lead to an infection that spread to the jaw. Getting rid of the inflamed material from inside the tooth eases the pain caused by the infection and protects the tooth from needing to be pulled.
Root canal treatment starts with numbing the area. Typically, the anesthesia is administered through a small needle which is only a short pinching sensation and the last feeling the patient has in the affected area until long after the root canal treatment ends.
The dental professional opens the tooth to get inside the root canals. Then they use tools to clean out the infected or inflamed pulp and remove bacteria. This step is crucial to the outcome of the treatment. If the dental expert doesn’t remove all the bacteria, the patient could have a future infection.
Once all the infection is out of the tooth, the canals receive a sealant and temporary filling. Later, the patient will get a restorative dental crown over the tooth to provide protection and another seal against bacteria reentering the tooth. At Matthews Family Dentistry, we offer the unique opportunity for our patients to get CEREC single-visit crowns to cut down on the number of dental visits they need.
If a dentist recommends that you need root canal therapy, you should not avoid the treatment. At the stage when you need root canal treatment, your tooth’s damage has progressed beyond the ability of a simple cavity filling to fix it. Without removing the infection from inside the canals, you could lose the tooth.
The only alternative to root canal treatment is having the tooth pulled and an implant installed. If the tooth has sustained severe damage or the infection spread to the bone under the tooth, extraction may be the only option. However, extraction and adding an implant may cost more than root canal therapy, require more dental visits, and have a longer recovery time.
Root canal treatment does not hurt as much as people believe that it does. In fact, it causes about the same amount of discomfort as you would have when getting a filling. The only difference is some minor soreness for a few days after the root canal treatment. However, most people can take ibuprofen and acetaminophen for adequate pain relief.
Recover from root canal treatment typically takes about a week for the pain to completely disappear. Some people feel better in a few days. If you have root canal treatment questions and experience pain that lasts longer than a week or is severe, call your dentist.
Usually, the numbness from the local anesthesia will last for up to four hours. Because the anesthesia used for the procedure is not a general one that affects the entire body, you should be able to drive yourself home or go back to work. Avoid eating anything while your mouth is still numb, though.
To avoid the need for future root canal treatments, you should do everything possible to maintain good oral hygiene. First, take care of your teeth and gums every day. Floss and brush twice a day to get food out from between your teeth. Root canal therapy is necessary when tooth decay worsens beyond needing a cavity. Therefore, if you can prevent decay and cavities, you can avoid root canal treatments.
Another way to keep your teeth healthy is to have regular dental appointments. Preventative dental care keeps your teeth even cleaner than brushing and flossing at home. Plus, the dentist can x-ray your mouth to see if you have any minor areas of decay. By spotting cavities early and getting them filled while they are small, you can avoid the need for root canal treatment.
While many dental insurance plans pay for at least part of the cost of root canal treatment, you should contact your insurance company for more information. However, if you need help paying for your root canal therapy at Matthews Family Dentistry, we provide several payment options to help make it easier for you to cover the cost.
For patients who use cash or check to prepay bills greater than $1,000, we provide a 5% adjustment to the total cost.
Another way to pay is a 50/50 plan for treatments that require multiple visits, such as root canal therapy. You pay 50% at the first visit and 50% at the second or spread out the payments over all the visits, so you are completely paid off at the last visit.
We will also take CareCredit or in-office financing with your personal credit card.
Don’t fear the need for root canal therapy. In fact, putting off this vital treatment could cost you a tooth and weeks of pain. Getting treatment soon eliminates the cause of the tooth pain, the inflamed pulp inside the tooth, thereby easing your mouth pain. If you have dental pain that needs evaluation or if you still have root canal treatment questions, contact us today at Matthews Family Dentistry in Matthews, NC, for an appointment.