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What to Ask Your Endodontist Before a Root Canal
When the pulp inside of the tooth becomes infected, a root canal is often necessary. In this endodontic treatment, a medical professional removes the diseased parts. Although this is a routine procedure, it is important for patients to understand the process and how to handle the aftermath. Staying informed can allow people to feel more comfortable and help them know how to care for the treated area afterwards.
Questions to ask before a root canal
What happens during the procedure?
First, the endodontist administers a local anesthetic so that the patient does not feel what is happening. Then the pulp is carefully removed, and the canal is thoroughly cleaned out. This typically takes an hour or two depending on which tooth was infected.
What is the recovery time?
Most people are able to resume all normal activity a few hours after their appointment. Many are able to go back to school or work but may need to take something for the pain. It depends on the person's pain tolerance and specific reaction to anesthesia.
Is it painful?
A local anesthetic is applied prior to the procedure, so the patient typically does not feel anything. However, some people experience slight discomfort in the days following. The endodontist may tell the patient to take an over-the-counter painkiller to help relieve the soreness.
Are there any limitations following the procedure?
There are typically no limitations following the root canal. However, patients should avoid overly hard food as the tooth will most likely still be slightly sensitive.
How much does it cost?
The cost depends on a few factors, such as which tooth needs the work done. Molars are typically more expensive than front teeth. The average cost is anywhere from $300 to $2,000. Insurance may help cover the cost depending on the patient’s policy. It is important to come up with a payment plan ahead of time, but the appointment should not be put off as this could lead to more serious complications.
Will the infection return?
It is possible for the area to become infected again, but this does not happen often. Other teeth can develop the same issue, though. It is extremely important to take proper care of the teeth and gums. This means flossing every day and brushing at least twice a day. It is also a good idea to cut back on sugary food and drinks. The best way to prevent any further problems is to follow the care plan given by the endodontist.
What happens at the follow up appointments?
At the follow up appointments, the endodontist checks to make sure the tooth is healing properly. The patient is then fitted for a permanent crown, which helps preserve the tooth. The dentist may put a filling in the canal where the pulp was removed. Patients should call the office immediately if they experience any of the following:
- Severe pain
- Loose crown
The best way to avoid needing a root canal is to take good care of your teeth. Sometimes it is unavoidable, however, and in these cases, it is important to get as much information as possible prior to having the procedure done. An endodontist can provide more information about what happens next.
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