If you have a cracked tooth, infected tooth, or severe tooth pain, you may need a root canal. While you may fear the pain of a root canal, the procedure itself is actually no more painful than having a filling placed. Dr. Leonard Hess, your local dentist in Monroe NC, offers expert level care and comfortable dental treatments for patients of all ages in Union County and beyond.
What is a root canal?
The term ‘root canal’ actually refers to the natural cavity at the center of the tooth. The tooth’s nerve is located inside the root canal, surrounded by soft tissue called pulp. If the tooth is damaged or has decay, bacteria and debris can enter into the root canal area and cause an infection.
More generally, the term ‘root canal’ is used to refer to the procedure which removes infected tissue and restores the tooth to healthy function.
Root Canal Symptoms
While you may not experience any root canal symptoms, many people often experience the following symptoms which can indicate the need for a root canal procedure:
- Toothache which may worsen when pressure is applied
- Persistent tooth sensitivity
- Tooth discoloration
- Sore gums surrounding the tooth
About the Root Canal Procedure
The goal of a root canal procedure is to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. Dr. Hess will first numb the area to prevent discomfort. Once numb, he will remove all infected tissue from the inside of the tooth. He will then fill the tooth with a special material to prevent further infection. In some cases, an antibiotic will be needed to cure the infection.
Once the infection is clear and the root canal is free of debris, Dr. Hess will fill the tooth with a biocompatible rubber compound called gutta percha. Finally, your dentist will use either a dental filling or porcelain dental crown to cover the tooth. This will add both strength and long-term protection against future damage.
Root Canal Procedure FAQs
Does a root canal hurt?
The root canal procedure will feel no different than having a dental filling placed. You may experience mild discomfort or soreness, Dr. Hess will use local anesthetic to ease pain during the procedure and can prescribe medication to help with any pain after root canal therapy.
What are the alternatives root canal treatment?
A tooth extraction is the alternative to root canal treatment. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can not regenerate and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Whenever possible, Dr. Hess recommends preserving as many natural teeth as possible for the best health of the smile.
How much does a root canal cost?
Dr. Hess will discuss root canal cost prior to beginning treatment. The cost of the procedure will be based on your specific circumstances, taking into consideration the extent of damage and what is needed to restore the tooth; a dental crown or just a dental filling. As a courtesy, we will submit to your dental insurance for reimbursement.