At Cloverdale Crossing Dental Group, we perform root canal procedures when the interior pulp of a tooth has become damaged or infected.
What is a root canal?
Deep inside your tooth is an area of soft tissue called the pulp.
The pulp carries all the tooth's nerves, veins, arteries and lymph vessels. Root canals are very small, thin divisions that branch out from the top pulp chamber down to the tip of the root. A tooth can have one or up to four, root canals (and sometimes more).
Why do I feel pain in my tooth?
When the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected as a result of a deep cavity, a fracture, or injury, it can die.
Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and pressure cannot be relieved from inside the tooth.
The main symptom of tooth pulp damage is pain in the tooth, commonly felt when biting, chewing on it and applying hot or cold foods and drinks. However those symptoms can also mean other things, as so a pulp infection needs to be confirmed by an x-ray.
Why do I need a root canal procedure or therapy?
The infected tooth pulp will not heal by itself, and so treatment is necessary.
Otherwise, the bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth will eventually fall out. The pain will worsen until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention.
The only alternative to a root canal is usually extraction of the tooth. We only perform extractions if absolutely necessary, as missing teeth can cause surrounding teeth to shift, resulting in a bad bite.
Although an extraction is less expensive that a root canal at the outset, it will result in more dental work being necessary in the future.
The space left behind will need to be filled by a dental implant or a bridge, and these treatments are usually more expensive than a root canal procedure or therapy.
Give the choice between a root canal, which allows you to keep your tooth, and an extraction, it's always best to keep your original teeth.
What is involved in root canal therapy?
Once we determine that root canal therapy is necessary, we will perform the treatment here at our practice, or refer you to an endodontist (a pulp specialist) if necessary.
Root canal therapy usually involves one appointment. You will first be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. A rubber sheet is then placed around the tooth to isolate it.
Next, the pulp chamber and any infected root canal is cleaned of all diseased pulp and reshaped. Medication may be inserted into the area to fight bacteria.
Depending on the condition of the tooth, the crown may then be sealed temporarily to guard against recontamination, or the tooth may be left open to drain, or we may go right ahead and fill the canals.
The pulp chamber and canal(s) are then filled with rubber-like material to prevent re-contamination.
If the tooth remains weak, a post can be inserted above the canal filling to reinforce it. Once it's filled, the area is permanently sealed. Finally, a gold or porcelain crown is placed over the treated tooth to strengthen its structure and improve appearance.
What are the risks?
Almost all (95%) of root canal procedures at effective.
However, in rare cases a tooth must be re-treated as a result of diseased canal offshoots or the fracturing of canal filing instrument used.
Once in a while, a root canal therapy will fail altogether, marked by a return of pain.
What happens after root canal treatment?
You may feel discomfort for a few days after your procedure, which can be controlled by an over-the-counter analgesic. A follow-up exam will be scheduled to monitor tissue healing.
From this point on, brush and floss carefully and regularly, avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth, and see your dentist on a regular basis.
How much does a root canal cost?
The cost of a root canal varies, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
The majority of insurance companies consider root canal therapy a "basic" procedure, but some (e.g., PBC) will not cover "difficult access" root canals.
The patient is responsible for the difference between an "easy access" and a "difficult access" root canal.
Root canal procedures are just one of the services Cloverdale Crossing Dental Group in Surrey BC provides. For more information or to book an appointment for a consultation, please contact us!
We are committed to helping you and your family maintain good oral health.