Frequently Asked Questions about Endodontics

What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is all about the treatment of our tooth’s softer inner tissue, or the dental pulp as it’s called. This branch of dentistry encompasses everything that can be done on the pulp, the roots and the peri-radicular tissue.

The word “Endodontics” quite literally means “inside tooth”. As people go through life, their teeth get cracked and damaged, which leads to its insides getting infected. Without proper help, the dental pulp and its surrounding tissues die, inadvertently causing swelling and countless sleepless nights.

Root canals (Endodontics) are usually a process of opening the affected tooth and removing the infected pulp. With the obstruction out of the way, the endodontist then cleans the insides, shapes it back to normal, fills it up and seals the tooth back in.

Though the operation sounds simple in theory, there is a lot of work, expertise and advanced dental equipment needed for a proper endodontic treatment, especially for the more difficult cases. The number of appointment and the costs also depend upon the severity of the tooth damage, and will be covered in the next section.

How Much Does An Endodontic Treatment Cost?

The cost of a root canal procedure depends on where the affected tooth is located. The estimated price for anterior tooth treatments are around $550 to $1100. Pricing for premolar root canal ranges from around $600 to $1200, while posterior root canal procedures (molars) can vary from somewhere around $800 to $1400. The costs are usually one-time fees but they cover all the root canal appointments up until the end of the procedure.

The initial costs will not cover final restorations and re-treatment cases, but they do cover the dental x-rays, the dental anesthetics while on root canal procedure, and the temporary restoration that concludes each visit.

Is Endodontics Safe?

Endodontic treatments might boast a high success rate, but the more pressing concern for most patients is the relative safety of going through the procedure. Is it really safe for everyone?

Though the words “root canal” might send even the bravest person into visualizing a world of pain, there is nothing to fear by going through an endodontic treatment. In fact, endodontics is the leading option whenever a person experiences tooth abscess and infection, as it treats the dental pulp in a direct manner by removing the diseased material, cleaning it and sealing it from further damage.

Different complications may arise- infections and reactions might occur, depending on the materials and ingredients used in the procedure. Endodontic procedures have become advanced and safer due to the introduction of non-toxic compounds such as sterile water, hydrogen peroxide, gutta percha, bioceramic and calcium hydroxide paste. As with all important procedures, it is still best to consult with a qualified dentist or endodontist before proceeding.

How Long Will My Root Canal Last?

The wonders of endodontic treatment have proven that successful cases of root canal procedures can last decades, or even a lifetime! The key to longevity depends upon several important factors such as treatment, the changes over time and the properties of the tooth itself needing endodontic treatment. Provided that all the factors presented are favorable, then you may not have to worry about your affected teeth after a root canal ever again!

What happens during an endodontic procedure?

1. The offending tooth and area around the tooth is anaesthetized.

2. A latex rubber dam is set with a small hole that only shows the affected tooth (making it sterile and clean).

3. Dental equipment and drilling is used to get to the pulp.

4. Modern equipment and x-rays determine the end of the roots and the tooth’s length.

5. Instruments remove the decayed matter. After that, sterile water or agents flush out the dead bacteria and tissue.

6. The canal is dabbed with cotton and is left as a temporary seal until the next appointment (sometimes it is completed in one appointment)..

7. The canals are sealed with materials when the procedure is complete.

What is the Recovery Time After a Root Canal Procedure?

Once a root canal is completed and the diseased or infected pulp is removed the healing time can vary from patient to patient. The gums and the surrounding area will remain tender and possibly a little red and you may want to schedule a final checkup a few weeks after the procedure to make sure things are healing ok. Casually speaking, you can already go to work or resume your day-to-day activities when the anesthetic has worn off after the last appointment. You can eat your favorite food and drink your favorite beverage, chewing on the other side while the tissues recover.

The length of time pans out at one to two weeks when everything is going as planned. You can discuss permanent fillings or final restorations to protect the said tooth in the future. A checkup after 6 and 12 months of endodontic procedure is needed to ensure that the tooth is well and healing properly.