Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will it hurt?
  2. How long will it take?
  3. How much will it cost?
  4. Why shouldn't I just have it extracted?
  5. What should I expect after root canal treatment?
  6. What should I do following root canal treatment?

Answers

1. Will it hurt?

Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow our instructions carefully. Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call us.

2. How long will it take?

Using the latest in modern technology and techniques, we can complete the majority of endodontic treatments in a single visit. Depending upon the tooth and the number of canals treatment times can vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours. In some cases where infection or inflammation are present, multiple appointments may be required to complete treatment.

3. How much does it cost?

The cost varies depending on how complex the problem is and which tooth is affected. Molars are more difficult to treat due to their position in the mouth and additional canals. Therefore, the fee is usually more for molar teeth. Most all dental insurance policies provide some coverage for endodontic treatment. For insurance holders, we require a deposit up front, we will then file your insurance for you as a free service. Typical fees in our office for routine root canal treatment range from $800 to $1200. Once you know the tooth number for the tooth needing treatment, you can contact our office for precise fee information.

4. Why shouldn't I just have it extracted?

Generally, endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must be replaced with a bridge or implant to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration. With root canal treatment, you save your natural teeth and money.

5. What should I expect after root canal treatment?

It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area for a few days after your root canal treatment as your body undergoes the natural healing process. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications. It is important for you to follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Remember that narcotic medications, if prescribed, may make you drowsy, and caution should be exercised in operating dangerous machinery or driving a car after taking them. Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment has been completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, contact your endodontist.

6. What should I do following root canal treatment?

  • Do not eat anything until the numbness in your mouth wears off. This will prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue.
  • Do not chew or bite hard on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist.
  • Be sure to brush and floss your teeth as you normally would.
  • If the opening in your tooth was restored with a temporary filling material, it is not unusual for a thin layer to wear off in-between appointments. However, if you think the entire filling has come out, contact your endodontist.
  • Contact your endodontist right away if you develop any of the following:
    • a visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth;
    • an allergic reaction to medication, including rash, hives or itching (nausea is not an allergic reaction);
    • a return of original symptoms; or
    • your bite feels uneven.

Root canal treatment is only one step in returning your tooth to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important in ensuring long-term success.

© 2016 J. Martin Gambill, DDS, PA. All rights reserved.