The two most common questions about root canals are, “are root canals painful”, and “what’s the best root canal pain relief”.
In answer to the first question, the quick answer is yes. A root canal infection will be very painful, and the sooner it’s treated, the better, but the pain of the dentist treating the root canal is less so, and can just be compared to that of getting a filling.
And the best root canal pain relief is visiting your dentist and having them quickly treat the problem.
Root Canal Infection Symptoms
As an infection takes hold various symptoms will occur.
The gum tissue becomes swollen, and in some cases the face may also swell.
A dental abscess is usually evident, which generally will contain pus.
These symptoms carry with them a great deal of pain, and as the dental infection builds up the pain also worsens.
Regular pain killers to stop toothache may not have much effect. It will probably take something stronger to provide root canal pain relief, and treating the infection will make a dramatic difference to the pain.
What Is A Root Canal Procedure?
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure which deals with the center of the tooth. The center of the tooth is known as the root canal system, and root canal treatment is also known by the term endodontics.
An endodontist is a dentist that specializes in this field, and he or she will decide on the best treatment for you.
The first step will be to deal with the bacteria and infection.
If it is possible to save the tooth, antibiotics may be given to defeat the infection. Once the infection is under control, the tooth may be able to be filled.
If a filling is not appropriate, then the dentist may advise fitting a dental crown.
In ninety percent of cases treatment is a success, and the affected tooth can still be around a decade later.
If it is not possible to save the tooth it may need to be removed, and other options discussed. Some aspect of cosmetic dentistry, such as a dental implant may be the solution, or perhaps a denture.
When Is A Root Canal Needed?
The root canal system is filled with dental pulp, and the canal goes from the tooth crown down to the bottom of the roots, down into where the root is anchored in the jaw bone.
The dental pulp comprises soft tissue, and inside that soft tissue are blood vessels and nerves.
When there is an infection in the root canal the pulp becomes infected by bacteria, and it dies. There may also be a tooth abscess present.
The dental infection can start due to:
- accidental damage to a tooth
- a damaged filling
- tooth decay and cavities
How Much Do Root Canals Cost
The cost of a root canal will vary from State to State, and dental clinic to dental clinic.
If you are lucky enough to hold dental insurance, the cost of the treatment will generally be covered. Unfortunately, so many people today cannot afford medical and dental insurance.
Another problem is that many people take out minimum insurance cover, which often carries exclusions.
While people who fall below the poverty line may be able to find a free dental clinic, the average cost of a root canal is going to be around $900.
You will need to make enquiries if you are unable to find the funds for treatment.
Funding your root canal cost without insurance cover will be costly, but some dentists offer a payment plan.
Root Canal Recovery Time
The tooth and gum may be sensitive for a couple of days after treatment commences.
However, the pain is going to be nowhere near as bad as it was before treatment, as the infection is often the major cause of pain.
Regular painkillers should be sufficient to deal with any niggling pain, and most patients find that they can resume their normal everyday activities by the following day.
Your endodontist will usually give useful instructions on drinking and eating after root canal treatment.
These instructions should be followed, so as to avoid causing unnecessary problems with the tooth that is being treated. This is particularly important when it comes to biting hard objects.
The dental practice should also have advised on maintaining an appropriate oral hygiene regime during treatment.
Advice on smoking after root canal is almost always given. Smoking affects blood flow along with many other things. It is said that it will delay the healing process.
Doing your best to avoid dental decay will also help you avoid going through this process again.
Most dental experts will give the following advice to all patients, but especially those vulnerable to dental problems.
- always keep up good oral hygiene practices, brushing and flossing regularly.
- try to limit the sugar that you consume – it damages the teeth and gums.
- avoid smoking – it’s damaging to the teeth, mouth, and gums.
Root Canal Vs Implant
Many people want to know if it’s worth going through the pain of treating the root canal infection, and all the associated treatment.
They wonder if it wouldn’t be just as easy to have to infected tooth removed.
Of course tooth extraction may be a valid option, and it may actually be the only option if the tooth is too badly damaged.
However, don’t forget that having a dental implant also involves a considerable amount of treatment.
Perhaps the best person to advise you on this matter is the endodontist, who can tell you what’s best for you personally.