What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal procedure is pretty much what it sounds like. Your tooth is a complex structure with a few different layers. The outer white layer is called enamel, which protects a hard layer underneath called dentin. Under the dentin, there is a soft tissue called pulp.
Pulp is filled with nerves, blood vessels, and all the other stuff that creates the tissues holding your tooth in place. It’s also what gives your teeth feeling and sensation. Pulp is essential for a tooth’s growth and development when you’re a kid, but you really don’t need it as an adult.
This is good news because if you ever get a cavity that is left untreated, bacteria can get inside the pulp and infect it. This leads to painful sensations as inflammation affects the blood vessels and nerve endings. With a root canal, a dentist can remove the pulp to keep the structure of the tooth in place without needing to extract the tooth.
How To Know If You Need a Root Canal
Root canals are meant to help address cracked or broken teeth from cavities, injuries, or problems with a previous dental procedure.
Some general warning signs tend to alert you it might be time for a procedure.
- Severe pain when chewing or biting
- Chipped, cracked teeth
- Swelling or tenderness at the gumline
- Dark gums
- Pimples on the gums
- Sensitivity to hot or cold, even when the sensation has been removed from the teeth.
Root Canal Procedures: What To Expect
It’s normal to be nervous before your first appointment for a root canal, but this is a very common dental procedure that is nothing like it once was. Nowadays, it is quick, painless, and comfortable.
First, an endodontist will examine your teeth, take x-rays, and then administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then, a dental dam is placed to isolate the infected tooth from the rest of the mouth. This helps keep it clean.
After that, the endodontist will drill an opening in the crown, or top, of the tooth, where they will then use small instruments to clean the pulp from the chambers inside. This removes the infected material to make way for a dental filling.
The inside of the tooth is cleaned before being filled with an adhesive cement to fill the hole in the tooth and restore it to its natural shape and function. In many cases, this filling is only temporary — a permanent crown is placed later on.
Root canals usually don’t hurt, thanks to the local anesthetic that you’re given beforehand. You might feel a little bit of discomfort during the procedure, but it shouldn’t be painful. After the procedure, you might feel some discomfort or sensitivity, but this can usually be alleviated with over-the-counter medications.
Root Canal Recovery
One of the great things about a root canal is that you do not need to do anything special to the tooth upon completion of the procedure. With that said, some dentists recommend only eating soft foods for the first few hours, as your teeth might be sensitive. You may also feel some sensitivity, swelling, or inflammation.
After that, you just need to keep practicing good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing, to lengthen the lifespan of the filling.
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?
Despite the fact that root canals are quick, painless, and common procedures, they are still inaccessible to a wide range of Americans. This is because the average cost of a root canal can vary anywhere between $700 and $1,500 out of pocket.
While dental insurance usually covers most of the cost associated, over 33% of Americans live without access to dental insurance. This means that nearly 1/4 of the entire country is stuck paying out of pocket for necessary dental healthcare.
Flossy: Affordable Care
The good news is that Flossy is here to fix this problem. We’re a pay-as-you-go dental service that only charges you for the services you receive. This means you don’t need to worry about monthly premiums or annual fees. Plus, with Flossy, people save up to 50% on common dental procedures and treatments without insurance.
From routine care to emergency services, we’re bringing affordable dental care to the Phoenix area and beyond. There’s no waiting period and no annual cap, so you can start getting care right away, and you never need to stop for as long as you’re a member.
Our dentists are vetted against rigorous criteria to ensure you’re getting top-quality care even at up to 50% off treatments. You can rely on stellar patient reviews, dentists from world-class accredited dental programs, and the use of new technology are just a few standards that dentists in our network have to meet.
No insurance? Perfect. Find a top dentist in the Phoenix area today and start getting the care you need.
How To Prevent Tooth Decay
One of the best ways to treat tooth decay is to prevent it from happening in the first place. And even though Flossy can save you tons of money on out-of-pocket procedures, it’s always a smart idea to take care of your teeth to prevent problems regardless.
The first defense against tooth decay is brushing your teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush for at least two minutes, hitting each quadrant of the mouth for thirty seconds. Additionally, as much as we know how inconvenient it can feel, always take some time to floss so that you can remove some food debris that gets caught between the teeth.
You can also prevent infections at the root of the tooth by getting cavities treated early on. This is why it’s important to visit a dentist for a routine visit once every six months. They will examine your mouth and help fight cavities before they become too severe. Not to stress: Flossy can save you up to 50% on routine dental cleanings, even without insurance.
Root canals are a common dental procedure that seeks to improve the structure and appearance of your teeth if it becomes affected by cavities or trauma. These are painless procedures that do a lot to eliminate pain in the long run.
The only real problem with root canals is the associated cost. Root canals are expensive procedures that are especially tough on your wallet if you don’t have insurance. The good news is that you don’t need insurance to gain access to the dental care you need.
Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service that’s ready to bring brighter smiles to the Phoenix area. Find a dentist near you and get started toward a healthier, happier smile.
What is a Root Canal? | American Association of Endodontists
Root Canal Explained | American Association of Endodontists
Dental coverage, access & outcomes | ADA
Cavities/tooth decay - Symptoms and causes | The Mayo Clinic
Tooth Extraction: Procedure, Aftercare & Recovery | Cleveland Clinic
Oral Health Tips | Adult Oral Health | Basics | Oral Health | CDC