Scott Levine, D.D.S
Call (510) 526-8811
Root Canal Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why would I need a root canal?
A. When the nerve of a tooth becomes irreversibly damaged -- due to decay, trauma, or a crack in the tooth -- you'll need root canal treatment.
Q. How can the dentist tell if I need a root canal?
A. Often nerve damage causes tooth pain, swelling and sensitivity to hot or cold. You may also notice that the tooth is becoming darker in color. Sometimes, it can only be diagnosed with an X-ray or other tests.
Q. What happens during a root canal?
A. During root canal treatment, the dentist cleans out the infected pulp tissue within the roots. After all the nerve has been removed, the canals are filled with a sealer.
Q. How long will it take?
A. Usually, root canal therapy takes one or two appointments for a front tooth (anterior), and two or three appointments for a back tooth (posterior). A tooth can have from one to four roots and all the roots must be treated.
Q. After the root canal is finished, will the tooth need more work?
A. The tooth is more brittle after a root canal and requires a permanent restoration. This could range from a simple tooth filling to a large build-up with posts and pins. If the tooth filling is large, the tooth may also need a dental crown to protect the tooth from breaking.
Q. Why not just take out the tooth?
A. It's usually healthier and less expensive to save the tooth with root canal treatment. Replacing an extracted tooth involves either expensive bridgework or a partial denture. If the tooth is extracted and not replaced, adjoining teeth can move into the empty space, creating even more problems.
Q. Will root canal treatment be painful?
A. Your tooth will be numb during the treatment. If your tooth was aching or sensitive prior to treatment, it may take a few days for the tooth to get back to feeling normal. You can take a mild painkiller during that time. If it's necessary, something stronger will be prescribed. If the tooth had been badly infected, you may need to take an antibiotic.
Q. How much will it a Root Canal cost?
A. The cost of root canal treatment usually depends on the number of canals which are infected and need treatment. There will be a separate charge for the restoration, which will vary from the cost of a simple filling to a crown. All expected treatment charges will be discussed with you before treatment.
Don't Forget to Floss!
Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. Decay-causing bacteria can hide between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between teeth and under the gum line.
Visit Our Office Regularly!
Take good care of your smile. Remember to visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Mouthwash Is Important, Too!
Brushing and flossing may not be enough. The ADA now recommends using an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce plaque and prevent gingivitis.