Today let’s talk about root canals. What to expect? Are they painful? How much do they cost and are they safe?
Are root canals painful?
Root canal treatments don’t actually hurt. They get a bad rep because oftentimes people need root canals when their tooth is already in pain. Not always but often. That’s why the tooth might hurt not because of the procedure itself, but because your tooth is already hurting when you show up to the appointment. And it’s sometimes hard to get you numb when the tooth is so infected. That it’s causing you pain.
If you are not in pain, that’s actually the best time to get your root canal before it hurts you. Because then you numb up very easily. And the root canal procedure is super straightforward. It will feel like you’re getting any other routine dental treatment. You’ll be numb and you’ll be good. It’s easy. I really hope that makes sense knowing that getting a root canal is what helps combat the source of your pain rather than cause additional discomfort.
If you are in pain now, in this case oftentimes your dentist would have already prescribed you an antibiotic or something to help the swelling. Always talk with your dentist about your individual concerns, so they can accommodate you and make you more comfortable.
Are root canals safe?
The answer is absolutely yes. Root canal treatments utilize safe high-quality materials that are designed for long-lasting support. It’s safer to get a root canal than it is to avoid treating your infected tooth. Especially when you consider that an untreated abscess could potentially cause brain infection and put you in the hospital. A root canal treatment prevents the infection from spreading because it gets rid of the infection.
What a root canal does is removes the harmful stuff from the tooth by cleaning it out, disinfecting it, and then filling in the cleaned-up tooth. So definitely important to know that root canals remove the harmful bacteria and stop them from spreading. If you’re able to get a root canal always best to do that. Because it’s always best to keep your natural teeth. It’s the last resort to pull a tooth.
What should I expect during my appointment? How long will it take?
Every tooth is super different. It really depends on how many roots there are. If they are all twisted and curved or if it’s a simple single root. So the only person who can tell you the best time estimate is your dentist or your endodontist. They can examine your x-rays and examine your individual situation better than anyone online could tell you.
But in general, what to expect at your root canal appointment, you normally wouldn’t need a driver. You won’t need someone to drive you to your appointment unless you are going to be totally knocked out which is rare. Because most of the time it’s not recommended. It’s super normal to be awake and just get that tooth and that area of your mouth numbed up with a local anesthetic.
If you are a little nervous, sometimes some people ask for nitrous oxide, you know the laughing gas, to put your mind at ease. But if for some reason you have super high anxiety or you’re extremely nervous about being at the dentist in general, talk with your dental provider and ask if they offer sedation. It’s of course what you are comfortable with. So if you are going under you would need a driver, but if you are not going under which is more common, then you can drive yourself.
Regardless of whether you’re going under or not, the tooth and the area around your tooth will still be numbed up. Once you are numbed up, lots of patients say that root canal procedures are actually boring because you just lay there and it’s quiet. There are some noises but it’s nothing like getting fillings or crowns where there is loud drilling the whole time. I will recommend bringing headphones or something to keep entertained because it is truly boring. You can always ask to watch the procedure too if they use a microscope and they have a TV sometimes. They can connect it for the patient to watch.
Let’s talk about the cost.
Most dental insurances will cover root canal treatments however not all of them do.
You’ll need to verify your coverage to get a general idea of what your out-of-pocket expenses will be. Root canal costs depend on several factors, such as the cost of living in your area, whether you’re seeing a general dentist or an endodontist which is the root canal specialist, and even which tooth it is and how many roots there are. So for a front tooth, the average price is around $700. For a premolar, it’s usually around $850. And for a molar, it’s around $1200. Again these are averages.
They can be super less or super more depending on where you live. Also, lots of insurances may cover 50% of it or even 80% of it depending again on a million factors. Insurance is complicated. But in general, the more roots the more expensive. So the molars will be the most expensive teeth to get root canals on and your front teeth will be the most affordable.
In conclusion, always remember if you need a root canal and your dentist is recommending it, it’s the best treatment for your individual tooth in question. It is always best to save your natural teeth. Also, the overall root canal cost can actually save you money and time in the future when compared to extracting the tooth and then getting a dental implant placed on that site.
And lastly, if your tooth in question is not salvageable, your dentist does not think a root canal can save it, there are different tooth replacement options such as implants, bridges, and partials. But really if you can get a root canal to save your tooth, if it’s recommended, then it’s always best to have your own tooth in your mouth.