Root Canal (cont.)

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How long do root canals last?

Root canals are over 95% successful and can last a lifetime. The most important thing to do to make a root canal last as long as possible is get the permanent restoration (fillings or crowns) on the tooth immediately following the root canal and maintain that restoration with impeccable hygiene. A tooth that has had a root canal can still get a cavity, so a person must brush and floss the tooth thoroughly to keep it healthy. Since there is no nerve in the tooth, a person will not feel any symptoms if the tooth gets a cavity. The tooth will only hurt if it gets fractured or gets another abscess around it. The dentist will want to take check-up X-rays from time to time to make sure the root canal hasn't gotten reinfected.

How much does a root canal cost?

The cost of root canals varies depending on the tooth and whether it is being treated by a general dentist or an endodontist. Molars have more canals that need to be filled, so they are more expensive, and endodontists typically charge more due to their specialty training. The cost of a single-rooted tooth (incisor or canine) may be anywhere from $400 to $1,000, and a multi-rooted tooth (premolar or molar) may be anywhere from $500 to $1,400. Most dental insurance plans cover root canal treatment.

Are there any alternatives to a root canal?

Saving the natural tooth is usually the best option, so root canal treatment is generally the treatment of choice. The only alternative to having a root canal is a tooth extraction and having it replaced with an implant, bridge, or denture. These procedures are more expensive than a root canal and often require more time and additional procedures to treat the surrounding teeth and tissues. If a tooth is extracted and not replaced with some type of restoration, chewing function will be impaired and teeth may shift.

REFERENCES:

American Dental Association Division of Communications. "Getting to the root of endodontic (root canal) treatment The goal: preserving the tooth." Journal of the American Dental Association 132.3 (2001): 45-54.

Watkins, C. A., et al. "Anticipated and experienced pain associated with endodontic therapy." Journal of the American Dental Association 133.1 (2002): 45-54.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/2/2014

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