Root Canals – Causes, Treatments, and Cost

root-canal-therapyRoot canals are often considered to be the most painful dental procedures. However, it isn’t really that bad a treatment as it is commonly known. Root canal therapy helps in restoring your dental conditions and it is known to save more than 17 million teeth every year. It is the perfect way of keeping your tooth while relieving the pain, which is indeed a good choice.

Our teeth have some tiny canals lying beneath that tend to get infected due to our improper food habits or many other accidental causes. This results in the formation of pulps inside the tooth that becomes diseased over time. In these cases your dentist prefers to perform a root canal therapy in order to remove the infection and heal the disease.

These canals are further filled and your tooth is either filled with porcelain fillings or a cap or crown is used for securing the teeth permanently. Crowns are commonly used in most of the cases as they are increasingly strong and add durability to the affected tooth. It is just a matter of 2-3 dental office visits, and you are through.

What is a Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal therapy is basically a dental procedure, used for removing the diseases or infected pulp tissues from the inner part of a tooth. There are some narrow channels beneath the teeth, adjacent to the pulp chamber in the inner parts of a tooth. These channels are cleaned and hollowed out after which the roots are properly filled with nickel titanium materials to add to the flexibility of the teeth.

Our teeth are composed of 3 primary components:

  • A hard and protective shell, known as the enamel
  • A soft an sensitive middle layer, known a the dentin
  • Soft tissues present in the inner layers of the teeth known as the dental pulp.

The dental pulp is made up of nerve tissues, blood vessels and lymph tissues, and is often considered to be a vital par of our tooth. If the dental pulp traumatized or is affected very badly due to some of the contributing factors like exposure to bacteria through the dental caries, a tooth fracture or any such trauma, the tooth tends to die.

In such cases, a root canal is the only way of restoring the tooth while retaining its health and eliminating the infections to prevent the loss of tooth.

What Leads to Root Canal Therapy?

There are certain typical signs and symptoms that lead to diseases of infected tooth or dental nerve, and this in turn makes it necessary for a person to opt for root canal therapy.

The common signs that eventually lead to a root canal therapy are:

  • Pain in the root of the teeth or gums
  • Discoloration of teeth
  • Irritation and swelling of the gum tissues and the adjoining regions
  • Visible infections and signs of diseases roots appearing on the radio-graph.
  • Dentists recommend root canal therapy in all these cases in order to preserve the functionality of the teeth and the gums.

Are you a Candidate for a Root Canal?

Root canal is ideally meant for people having infected teeth or gums and also when extensive damage has been caused to the dental pulp.

These infections occur when a cavity is left untreated for a considerable period of time, the pulp lying inside the teeth tends to swell up due to restorative work or trauma, which eventually lead to pain, discomfort and irritation.


Depending on your oral health and the severity of the condition of your teeth, the dentist will determine the number of sessions you would require. It usually takes more than 3 sessions to complete the treatment, and no follow up dental visits are required.

The procedure begins with the numbing of the surrounding area of the affected tooth. In some cases, the dentist might as well offer mild sedation for the purpose. Following this, a rubber dam will be placed on your tooth and it is drilled to its pulp region from the top to the back of the affected tooth.

The real root canal measurements are taken only after removing certain amount of pulp from the location. This is done to enable the proper cleansing of the canal on the whole and also to ensure that enough filling is given for covering the entire canal. The actual measurement is taken with the help of electronic imaging devices or x-rays.

The diseased pulp part needs to be removed completely, after which the canal is also cleaned thoroughly with the use of an antiseptic solution. This solution helps in cleansing the canals within your tooth. The canals then need to be filled with some gutta percha or flexible plastic filling material.

To top it up, a temporary plastic filling is used; next, a permanent cap or crown will be created for preventing any further infection. Crowns are commonly used in these treatments to prevent the tooth from weakening.

The soreness post root canal can lasts for about 2-3 days, after which it settles down on its own.


Root canal therapy costs about $500 to $700 depending on the severity of the tooth. However, the cost could go up to $800 in case if it is done for the molars. This difference is due to the fact that the front teeth have one single root while the molars have more than 3 roots. The cost of the crown or any permanent fillings, if used, will be added separately. However, if root canal needs to be repeated on the same tooth, it would cost slightly higher.

Pros and Cons

Pros: Root canal ensures that your tooth will never require an extraction. Rather, it will be in a permanent treatment that will prevent your tooth from any infections in the future.

Cons: Root canals are painful treatment. It requires mild sedation sometimes. Very rarely, the infected tissues tend to come out from the roots to cause further infection to the gums. This could be a major disadvantage.

Description: On consultation with the help of your dentist you could undergo root canal treatment. This treatment is expensive because it helps to save your tooth.