What is a Root Canal?
Have you been told you need a root canal by your dentist? If you need a root canal, most likely you cracked a tooth, have a deep cavity, or failed filling. A common symptom patients experience when needing a root canal is, sensitivity, particularly to hot and cold sensations. The goal of a root canal surgery is to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection and save the natural tooth. During root canal surgery, the pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully disinfected, then filled and sealed.
Root Canal Treatment Side Effects
One of the most common side effects of root canal therapy is the failure of the treatment. An untreated root canal infection is dangerous and can lead to serious complications. However, because the nerve is removed during root canal treatment, patients may never realize it is infected until it’s too late. Once noticed when the infection is typically severe, an extremely painful abscess may present and or move to the surrounding bone. Infection on a root canal tooth cannot heal without treatment and worsens with time. “The factors which were found most responsible for endodontic failures were underfilled canals (33.3%), and missed canals (17.7%). The endodontic treatment done by the general dental practitioners has a high failure rate (78.8%), while the specialists have shown the least failure rate (21.1%). (Iqbal, 2016) ” With such a high failure rate, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to receive a dental implant from the beginning. For example, a patient in the images shown below had an infected root canal that spread to an adjacent tooth. Due to this, the patient not only had the initial payment of the root canal but had to pay for the extraction of two teeth, bone grafting with sinus lift, implants, abutment, and crown. As you can see from the image below, the amount of darkness surrounding the root canal tooth and the adjacent tooth on the upper right side is massive. This darkness is the infection that has eaten away at the bone. Due to this, the patient was in extensive pain and had severe bone loss. The picture below is after the patient had the two teeth extracted with bone grafting. As you can see the amount of bone loss is extensive.
Root Canal Treatment Cost
The biggest factor that affects the cost of root canals is location. For example, front teeth are less expensive than back teeth, due to the number of tooth roots located in molars. Additionally, depending on where you live the cost may increase as well. Statistics have shown that if you live closer to the coast, prices will be inflated due to the cost of living. Once you notice the sensitivity of a tooth, it is important to visit your dentist immediately. For example, the infection probably won’t be as extensive and therefore require a filling. However, if you wait, the infection may worsen, requiring a crown, not a filling. Crowns increase the price versus fillings due to the extensiveness of the procedure. Finally, if you have an infection on a tooth that already had a root canal, the procedure is more extensive and more expensive.
When choosing to do a root canal or not, it is important to know all the factual evidence. Root canals have a limited lifespan and a high rate of failure. However, it can give you more time before the tooth is needed to be extracted. Weighing all your options is important before making your final decision. When emergency dental care is needed, it can become very expensive. This is why it is important to ensure you see your dentist for regular preventative oral checkups.
Iqbal, A. (2016, May). The factors responsible FOR Endodontic treatment failure in the PERMANENT dentitions of the patients reported to the College of dentistry, the University of Aljouf, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948527/#:~:text=The%20endodontic%20treatment%20performed%20by,and%20missed%20canals%20(17.7%25).