Over 14 million root canal treatments are performed in the US every year. It is a very viable alternative to tooth removal. This treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges. At the center of your tooth is pulp tissue. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that enters the tooth from the end of the root, via the root canal. Irritation to the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature, painful chewing or pain in the tooth and gums.
If you do experience symptoms, your dentist may recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the injured pulp. The pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed down to the end of the root with a material called gutta percha. This therapy is usually performed under local anesthesia and completed in one visit. The success rate is about 85 to 90% if a tooth is without anatomical anomalies. The decision to perform this procedure is unique to each situation and needs to be discussed with your dentist.
The cost associated with this procedure varies depending upon which tooth is affected and the nature of the damage. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth. Typically, a build-up or post/buildup and a crown are required after root canal treatment.