Root Canal Basics: Everything You Need to Know

What Is a Root Canal?

Endodontic therapy, commonly called a “root canal,” is a procedure that treats the interior of your tooth. At the center of the tooth, beneath its hard exterior layers, lies what is called the pulp—a soft tissue that surrounds the nerves and blood vessels. Sometimes the pulp of a tooth can become infected or inflamed, often caused by serious tooth decay or traumatic damage. This can cause tooth pain, increased sensitivity, and a darkened or shadowy color.

In a root canal procedure, a dentist or endodontist (tooth-interior specialist) removes the damaged pulp and then fills and seals the tooth with a crown to protect it from infection and maintain a natural-looking appearance.

Do Root Canals Hurt?

At Platinum Dental, we are committed to ensuring that your experience is as comfortable as possible. For a root canal, both the tooth being treated and the surrounding gum area will be anesthetized, or numbed. While this does process does require shots, topical anesthesia before the shot will help to minimize the pinch. After receiving the injections, your dentist or endodontist will give some time for the anesthesia to take effect.

If you still feel anxiety about getting a root canal, anti-anxiety medication or sedation can be a great way to help you relax through the procedure. Talk to your dentist to determine what type of medication or sedation is right for you.

Post-Procedure Pain and Recovery

You may experience tenderness or pain in and around your tooth and jaw after your root canal, however, these are usually minimal and easily treated with over-the-counter painkillers.

How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

The out-of-pocket cost of a root canal will vary based on several factors, including the severity of the problem, the specific tooth affected, whether a general dentist or endodontist performs the procedure, and what amount your insurance policy covers. The price of root canal treatment can range from about $300 for a simple front tooth to $2,000 for a complex treatment on a rear molar, however, most patients report a pre-insurance cost of about $1,000.

After treating the root canal, a dental crown will usually be placed over the tooth to protect it from future infection and restore the appearance of the tooth. This crown can cost from $500-3,000, depending again upon the specific tooth being affected, as well as the material being used to form the crown, etc. In some cases, only a filling will be needed to seal the root canal.

Root Canal Procedure Summary

(1) Tooth pulp is infected/inflamed due to decay or injury, (2) An access hole is drilled in the surface of the tooth, (3) Damaged pulp is removed and the root canals of the tooth are thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated, (4) The canals are filled with an inert material and the tooth is covered with a natural-looking crown.