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There's no need to worry if your dentist diagnoses a root canal procedure to treat a damaged or diseased tooth. Each year, millions of teeth are treated and saved this way, relieving pain and restoring dental health.
Inside your tooth, beneath the white enamel and the hard layer called dentin, lies a soft tissue called pulp. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that 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 surrounding tissues.
A modern root canal treatment is nothing like the old sayings suggest. It's very similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. Getting a root canal is relatively painless and highly effective. You'll be back to smiling, biting, and chewing with ease in no time.
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
Since patients are given anesthesia, a root canal isn’t more painful than a regular dental procedure, such as a filling or getting a wisdom tooth removed. However, a root canal is generally a bit sore or numb after the procedure, and can even cause mild discomfort for a few days.
Root canals are needed for a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous dental restoration. Patients generally need a root canal when they notice their tooth causing severe pain, or prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold sensations.
There are a few symptoms that mean you might need a root canal
Although you will most likely be numb for 2-4 hours following the procedure, most patients are able to return to school or work directly following a root canal. However, it is advised against eating until the numbness is completely gone.
The cost of a root canal treatment varies depending on the complexity of the problem and which tooth is affected. Molars are usually more difficult to treat and therefore, the fee for their treatment is usually higher. However, most dental insurance policies do provide some coverage for endodontic treatment.
In general, endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. If a tooth is extracted, it must be replaced with an implant or bridge to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to be more expensive than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration. Therefore, it is often more cost-effective to save the natural tooth through endodontic treatment rather than to have it extracted and replaced.
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