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Top 10 Root Canal Questions & Answers

Aileen Sideris Root Canals

Are you in need of a root canal? If you’ve never had one before, you may not know what to expect and you probably have some questions. Root canal procedures are quite common and nothing like the negative connotation that’s associated with them. Still feeling nervous? Here are 10 common root canal questions and answers that may help ease your mind about having the procedure done.


1. How do you know if you need a root canal?


When the soft pulp inside the root of a tooth becomes infected, a root canal is needed. Symptoms of this problem are tooth pain, gum sensitivity, lingering tooth sensitivity, or discoloration of the tooth. The dentist may need to take an X-Ray to determine if a root canal is necessary.


2. What does a root canal procedure entail?


The root of the tooth is accessed and the infected tissue is removed from the inside of the tooth. The inside of the tooth is completely cleaned out and filled to prevent re-contamination.


3. Does the procedure hurt?


As with any other dental procedure, a local anesthetic is applied to the area around the tooth to numb the nerves and prevent pain during the procedure. A root canal is no more painful than having a cavity filled.


4. Is nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral sedation an option for root canals?


If the idea of dental work is a source of anxiety for you, it is possible to undergo treatment using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or taking an oral sedative an hour prior to your appointment. A consultation with Dr. Ball is required first to determine what type of sedation will work best for you.


5. How many trips to the dentist will be required?


The number of appointments you will need for a root canal from start to finish may differ. But on average, there will be an initial consultation where the need for a root canal is determined, then another appointment for the procedure itself, and at least one follow-up appointment to make sure the infection is gone.


6. What happens if an infected tooth is left untreated?


Neglecting a needed root canal can lead to a more severe infection such as an abscess. If ignored for too long the tooth may not be able to be saved.


7. Is having the tooth pulled an option?


Of course, you could just have the tooth extracted, but that is not the best option. A gap between teeth due to a missing tooth can cause other teeth to shift out of proper alignment. You will experience loss of jaw bone where the tooth was as it naturally resorbs. It can also be detrimental to your appearance. It is cheaper to try and save the tooth. Once a tooth is extracted, if the space needs to be replaced with an implant or bridge it can be costly.


8. Can a tooth infection be cured with antibiotics?


Antibiotics may offer temporary relief, but the infection will not be truly gone and is likely to come back again, possibly worse than it was the first time. A root canal procedure allows for the infection to drain and be cleaned out, allowing you to save your tooth that would otherwise require extraction.


9. Do you have to see an endodontist or can a dentist do the procedure?


Some dentists perform root canal procedures along with many other types of dental services such as cleanings, crowns, dentures, extractions. However, an endodontist specializes only in root canals and retreatment of previously failed root canals. Endodontists complete additional training, education, and certification. They use the latest technology and equipment during their procedures to make them more precise, efficient and provide better comfort for their patients while obtaining the most optimal results for each case.


10. How much will the procedure cost?


The cost of root canal procedures can differ between patients. The biggest factor is whether or not you have dental insurance and if so, whether or not a root canal procedure is covered by your plan. You can contact your dental insurance provider and our office for a pre-treatment cost estimate.


Why Should You See Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma For Your Root Canal?


There are definite advantages to seeing an endodontist for a root canal procedure, including technology, advanced training, and experience. Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma specializes in endodontic treatments including root canals and strives to make the procedure as efficient and comfortable as possible. 

Call (405) 285-5042 today to schedule an appointment at Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma or request an appointment.