Endodontic treatments are essential for preserving teeth, when decay or trauma affects the interior nerves and soft tissue. Here’s how endodontics can help save your smile.
What is Endodontics?
Endodontics is a dental specialty focusing on dental pulp, which are the nerves and soft tissue within a tooth. When this pulp becomes damaged or diseased, an endodontist will often use root canal therapy to eliminate pain and restore proper function.
Who Needs a Root Canal?
Family dentists often refer their patients to endodontists, when they believe there is damage or disease in a tooth’s pulp. Whether it’s due to an injury or decay, this damage can trigger a substantial amount of pain and compromise a person’s ability to chew properly.
In many cases, root canal therapy is essential for preserving a tooth, which would have to be extracted otherwise. Many people prefer to maintain their natural teeth for dietary and aesthetic reasons. Missing teeth can also lead to serious dental problems down the road, with some people requiring dentures or implants to eat normally.
What Exactly Is a Root Canal?
Usually performed in one or two visits, root canals involve several steps:
After examining and x-raying the tooth, the endodontist will administer a local anesthetic. Once the tooth is numb, a small protective dental dam is used to isolate the tooth to keep it clean and dry. The endodontist then creates a small opening in the crown of the tooth to accommodate tiny instruments, which are used to remove pulp from the root canals and pulp chamber, while shaping the space for filling.
The endodontist then fills the space with biocompatible material, along with adhesive cement to ensure that the root canals are completely sealed. The endodontist will then apply a temporary filling, which can be replaced with a crown or other restoration at a later time. In some cases, endodontists will also place a post inside an unstable tooth to hold a restoration in place.
How Much Will it Cost?
The cost of a root canal therapy depends on which tooth needs to be treated. In most instances, front teeth will cost the least, with premolars costing a bit more and molars costing the most. Since root canal therapy is considered a necessary treatment, dental insurance usually covers all or most of the associated costs.
If you require a dental crown or other restoration, there will be additional fees. Your insurance provider may require you to pay out-of-pocket costs if you choose a more expensive crown, made from porcelain instead of metal amalgam.
If affordability is an issue, we are pleased to offer flexible financing plans, along with discounts for patients without insurance.
Do I Have Other Options?
It depends. The endodontist will examine the tooth and let you know if you are a candidate for a root canal. A badly damaged root system, an insufficient jaw bone, or a tooth that can’t be properly restored after the procedure may preclude a root canal. In some cases, oral surgery may save the tooth, or you may wish to discuss other options such as dentures or implants after an extraction.
How do I Make an Appointment?
If you are having problems with a tooth, don’t delay getting treatment. The earlier you get treatment, the more options you are likely to have. Call your neighborhood Gentle Dental office today to make an appointment. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and accept most dental insurance policies. If you don’t have insurance, talk to our staff about financing options.