Why is it so common to be fearful of root canals?

In the past, we didn't have the advanced types of anesthetics, or the anesthesia techniques that we now have. It is very rare not to be able to obtain profound numbness, making having a root canal very similar to having a filling done. It just takes more time, since there are more steps involved in doing root canals.


  How much discomfort can I expect after having
root canal treatment?

Removing an inflamed or infected nerve does result in some trauma to the surrounding tissues; however, in the vast majority of cases, ibuprofen or aspirin easily controls the post-treatment discomfort. We recommend not chewing on the treated tooth while it is in the early stages of healing.


  Why is root canal therapy more expensive than fillings?

There are several more steps involved in doing root canals than in doing most fillings. These steps include removing the nerve tissue from all canals, cleaning and shaping the canals, and sealing them with gutta percha. Your Endodontist has 2 to 3 years of specialized training beyond the 4 years of dental school.


  How long can I expect to keep my tooth after having a root canal?

Statistically, 90-95% of the time, a tooth that has had a root canal can last the rest of your life, never needing further Endodontic treatment. However, in a small percentage of cases, the tooth may fail to heal. In these instances, retreatment and/or surgical intervention can still save your tooth.


  If I need Endodontic surgery, will it be painful and will I have to miss work?

Profound anesthesia makes the procedure comfortable. Of course, you may feel some discomfort and/or experience some swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. Your endodontist will recommend appropriate pain medication to alleviate your discomfort, and will give you specific postoperative instructions to follow. Usually you can be back to work the day after the procedure.


  What are the alternatives to root canal therapy or surgical treatment?

Often, the only alternative is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth should then be replaced with an implant, fixed bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Economically, it is usually more cost effective to have the root canal and restoration, rather than some form of replacement.


  Does dental insurance cover root canal treatment, retreatment and surgery?

Each insurance plan is different, so it is often times wise to check with your employer or insurance carrier prior to treatment. Typically, dental insurance covers 50-80% of Endodontic procedures.