When your tooth is severely damaged due from its decay, it leads to pulp inflammation, causing pain in your face, jaw, or teeth, due to the infected tooth.
This is when root canal treatments are required, to remove the infected pulp in your tooth — eliminating the root cause of your pain and discomfort.
A root canal treatment basically seeks to remove the infected pulp in your tooth, and to save as much of your tooth as possible. After administering local anaesthetic, the dentists uses pin-like tools to remove the inner damaged pulp. Once the inner chamber of the tooth is empty, it is thoroughly sterilised and filled with a special material to seal the tooth.
For many patients, we will recommend getting a dental crown over the tooth to prevent it from further damage.
The cost of a root canal treatment depends on the location of the tooth (anterior or mola, or pre-molar), and the severity of your condition. On average, the root canal treatment can cost from $350 and above for front teeth, from $500 for premolars (fourth and fifth tooth), and from $800 for molars. The reason for the increasing cost is due to both the size, and the number of roots that the tooth has. Molars are the most expensive as they are the largest, and can have up to 3 roots which increases the complexity and requires more skill to clean.
This excludes consultation, X-ray, investigation, re-treatment fees, and other related costs which includes the provision of a crown if needed after the root canal treatment.
As the root canal treatment involves nerves, vessels, and other tissues in the inflamed pulp of the tooth, there might be concerns that the treatment will be very painful.
However, the persistent pain that you experience due to the ever worsening decay is more severe and longer lasting than the pain associated with root canal treatment. You will be given an anaesthetic before the procedure and most people experience only mild discomfort over a few days, which can be managed with painkillers.
How long your root canal lasts depends on several factors, such as patient age, location of the affected tooth and amount of decay prior to treatment.
For many people, a root canal will last for as long as a natural tooth. If you brush and floss frequently, practise good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental check ups, you will increase the chances that your root canal will last for the rest of your life.
There are usually no major side effects after root canal treatment.
Once the initial discomfort subsides, you may experience a numbness around the affected area or an increased sensitivity to hot and cold food or beverages.
Very occasionally an inflammation of the sinus cavity or a re-infection of the tooth may occur following a root canal.
The key factor to deciding if a root canal treatment or a filling is required depends on the severity of the decay and if it has affected the pulp of the tooth. The pulp comprises connective tissue, nerves, blood vessels, and other tissue that help your teeth stay healthy. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal treatment is required to remove the affected pulp.
If the decay does not affect the pulp of the tooth, a filling to fill the cavity caused by the decay will be sufficient.
Some symptoms that you might need a root canal treatment include:
If left untreated, the bacteria causing the decay could cause an infection that kills the dental pulp, leading to bone loss, and potentially causing the loss of the entire tooth.
Going for a root canal treatment can help you fix the pain, keep as much of the healthy tooth as possible, and reduce the need for an implant if the tooth has to be extracted.