If you are suffering from a toothache, there’s a good chance your tooth may be infected. This could be because of deep decay caused by periodontal disease; repeated dental procedures; a faulty crown or cavity filling, or a chipped or cracked tooth.
Any of these problems can expose the tooth’s pulp to harmful bacteria which cause infection. Once that happens, to save your tooth it must be treated with a procedure commonly referred to as a root canal.
How long does a root canal take? What is the cost of a root canal? And what happens afterward? Penn Dental Medicine explains everything you need to know.
When bacteria get through cracks or holes in your tooth and reach the tooth’s pulp, the jellylike core in the center, it causes a painful infection that can spread into the jaw—even to other body parts. And it can stop the blood supply to the tooth and destroy the nerve.
A root canal procedure drills a hole in the tooth, removes inflamed pulp and nerves, cleans the inside surfaces, and seals the opening with a filling or crown to keep bacteria out. A tooth’s nerve and pulp aren’t essential to its health and functioning. Before, infected teeth would have been pulled rather than treated. Root canals are a better solution. You keep a functional tooth and alleviate the expense of implants or bridges to fill the hole.
Symptoms may include:
See your dentist if you are suffering from one or more symptoms. Your dentist will refer you to an endodontist (a dentist specializing in treating tooth pain) for diagnosis and treatment.
Your endodontist examines your teeth and takes X-rays to determine the damage. If a root canal is recommended, you can relax knowing it’s a common procedure. The American Association of Endodontists reports over 15 million root canals happen every year.
A root canal averages one or two visits of about 90 minutes each. Anesthesia is used, so you shouldn’t feel anything during treatment. Afterward, your tooth may feel a bit sore or numb, but any discomfort should resolve itself within a few days.
If treatment requires only one appointment, the endodontist fills the root canal and seals the tooth with a crown. If it requires two visits, the endodontist will place calcium hydroxide in the canal to kill bacteria. You may be prescribed an antibiotic to fight infection. Then, the opening is sealed temporarily until the second appointment.
Overall, root canal costs can range from $500 to $1,500. However, our patients experience more affordable, discounted rates in exchange for slightly longer treatment times. As an institution of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, we provide premium services through student dentists overseen by experienced dental professionals to put quality oral care at affordable rates within reach of anyone who needs it.
If you’re experiencing deep tooth pain, seek immediate care from a Penn Dental Medicine endodontist to preserve your tooth’s health.
Schedule a consultation for a low-cost root canal evaluation and/or procedure at Penn Dental Medicine, or call us at (215) 898-8965.