An Overview of Root Canals
Complications of a Root Canal
Despite your dentist's best efforts to clean and seal a tooth, new infections might emerge. Among the likely reasons for this include:
- More than the normally anticipated number of root canals in a tooth (leaving one of them uncleaned)
- An undetected crack in the root of a tooth
- A defective or inadequate dental restoration that has allowed bacteria to get past the restoration into the inner aspects of the tooth and recontaminate the area
- A breakdown of the inner sealing material over time, allowing bacteria to recontaminate the inner aspects of the tooth
Sometimes re-treatment can be successful. Other times, endodontic surgery must be tried in order to save the tooth. The most common endodontic surgical procedure is an apicoectomy, or root-end resection. This procedure relieves the inflammation or infection in the bony area around the end of your tooth. In this procedure, the gum tissue is opened, the infected tissue is removed, and sometimes the very end of the root is removed. A small filling may be placed to seal the root canal.
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Cost of Root Canal Therapy
The cost varies depending on how severe the problem is and which tooth is affected. Many dental insurance policies cover endodontic treatment. A ballpark estimate for the root canal treatment itself (not including a dental restoration following the procedure) performed by a general dentist could range from $350 to $540 for an incisor and $520 to $800 for a molar. The fees charged by endodontists could be up to 50% higher.
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Alternatives to a Root Canal
Saving your natural teeth is the very best option, if possible. Your natural teeth make it possible for you to eat a wide variety of foods necessary to maintain proper nutrition. The root canal procedure is the treatment of choice.
The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted. The tooth would then be replaced with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These alternatives not only are more expensive than a root canal procedure but require more treatment time and additional procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.