If your tooth is in pain, we know you must have many questions… What exactly is going on in my mouth? What is a root canal and why is it done? How soon until I can get back to work? Find out the answers to these and many other questions here.
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth”. Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth.
To understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root.
The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature, it can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
Signs of pulp damage include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. Sometimes, there are no symptoms.
The only alternative is an extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, they can be far more costly and time-consuming than treatment and restoration of the natural tooth.
No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are -- and they can be very effective -- nothing is as good as a natural tooth.
The cost varies depending on how complicated the procedure will be. The procedure will probably be more complex than your first root canal treatment, because your restoration and filling material may need to be removed to accomplish the new procedure. In addition, your Endodontist may need to spend extra time searching for unusual canal anatomy. Therefore, you can generally expect retreatment to cost more than the initial Endodontic treatment.
While dental insurance may cover part or all of the cost for retreatment, some policies limit coverage to a single procedure on a tooth in a given period of time. Check with your employer or insurance company prior to treatment to be sure of your coverage.
Each insurance plan is different. Check with your employer or insurance company prior to treatment.