Root Canal versus Extraction
Nobody wants to lose a tooth. But sometimes a tooth is so infected or has such a deep crack that there’s no other option than to extract it. In cases where an infected or cracked tooth can be repaired, however, root canal therapy is often the solution. A root canal might sound scary, but really it’s a relatively short procedure that helps heal and preserve the natural tooth so you can avoid having an extraction.
Tooth pain comes from the pulp. The pulp is the deepest layer inside the tooth that houses the nerve. It extends the entire length of the tooth root. During a root canal procedure, the pulp is removed and filled with a special dental material. With both the infection and the nerve removed, the tooth no longer feels pain or sensitivity.
A dentist will need to determine the need for a root canal, but here are a few symptoms that might mean you’ll need a root canal:
- Sudden and intense sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Severe toothache, feels like tooth is throbbing.
- Red or swollen gums near the tooth.
- Discolouration of the tooth.
- A pimple on the gums.
The Root Canal Treatment Plan
Once it’s determined that you need root canal treatment, the procedure can be performed by your general dentist. In some cases, your dentist might refer you to a root canal specialist, called an endodontist.
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
The first step to determine if you need a root canal is imaging. The dentist will need an x-ray of the entire tooth to see if and where the infection is located. In some cases, a specialized CT scan is required to detect cracks not visible on x-rays.
The dentist might then prescribe antibiotics to help reduce the infection before scheduling the root canal appointment. Alternatively, the dentist might start the treatment that day by opening the tooth and placing medicine directly inside the tooth to relieve pain, pressure, and infection.
The tooth and surrounding area will be completely numbed first, so you’ll be comfortable while the dentist is working. A bite block might be placed in your mouth to help you comfortably keep your mouth open. Once you’re numb, the dentist makes a hole in the tooth to access the inside of the tooth. The pulp is removed, then replaced with dental material.
Root Canal Recovery Time
Once the infection is cleared, the tooth is ready for its final restoration. A permanent filling or crown will be placed on the tooth. Usually, front teeth get fillings to cover the access hole and back teeth get crowns to make them strong enough for normal chewing forces. Many patients have relief from their tooth pain immediately. Most patients are pain-free within a few days. In rare cases, symptoms will persist for more than two weeks.
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost in Toronto?
As with most dental procedures, the cost of treatment varies from case to case. The reason quite simply is that each case is different. Some cases require more time and materials while others are quick and straightforward.
The average out-of-pocket cost of a root canal for a patient using dental insurance is around $200 to $500. Without insurance, the cost is typically around $600 to $1200. We’ll be able to give you an accurate quote after an exam and necessary imaging.
Factors that affect the overall cost of root canal treatment include:
- The severity of the infection.
- The location of the infection in your mouth.
- The health of the surrounding teeth and gums.
- Complications requiring more time or referral to a specialist.
- Specialized imaging.
No dental practice can provide an accurate quote over the phone. Ask questions while you’re in the dental office so that the doctor can provide you with all treatment options for you to consider.
What is the alternative to having a root canal?
The most common reason a root canal is necessary is that there’s an infection (abscess) present. An abscess is an active infection that must be taken seriously and needs treatment. Left untreated, the infection can spread and in some cases, even become life-threatening. If your dentist has recommended a root canal to treat an infected tooth, you should not ignore this recommendation!
An alternative to having root canal treatment can be extracting the affected tooth. Root canal therapy, however, is typically an easier recovery than an extraction. Plus, there’s nothing better than your natural teeth and it benefits you to keep them your whole life!
Contact us today
to schedule an initial consultation & exam.
Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Damage can occur due to deep decay, trauma, dead nerve, a loose filling or crown or a crack or chip in the tooth. A bacterial infection at the root tip, called an abscess, usually requires root canal therapy.
Thanks to modern techniques, technology, and a compassionate dental philosophy, our highly trained team of dentists can provide root canal treatments with minimal to no pain at all.
While antibiotics are often used to initially reduce the infection and inflammation, the source of the infection – the infected nerve – must be cleaned out to prevent the infection from coming back. Removing the pulp by root canal or extraction of the tooth is the only long-term option.
A root canal treatment usually requires one or two office visits. Simple or minor root canal cases usually take about 30 to 60 minutes of treatment, while a more complex cases can take longer– around 90 to 120 minutes.
That depends on what sort of insurance coverage you have. After a consultation, we can provide you with an estimate to send to your provider. We strongly encourage you to make a root canal a high priority. Please speak to us if you feel any hesitation.
You typically need a dental crown after a root canal on your back grinding teeth, molars, and premolars. Front teeth, canines, and incisors may only require a filling over the access hole.