Root canal is a last chance dental treatment done to save a decayed or infected tooth as an alternative to extraction. The word root canal originates from the Edwin Maynard’s pioneering dental procedure, first attempted in 1838 with a watch spring. Gutta percha was adopted to fill dental root canals in 1847, a material (now synthetic) which is still used by dentists today. To receive a root canal is to have the inner core of a tooth cleaned of decay and resealed with a biologically inert, resilient, electrically nonconductive, thermoplastic filling.

How long does a root canal take?

At Archer Dental, where nobody is rushes anything important, a typical root canal procedure takes over an hour and could stretch to ninety minutes for the entire appointment. More complex procedures may even take longer. We recommend you bring your own listening device, or you can watch Netflix in our operatories during your surgery. Yes, this is possible.

Do root canals hurt?

Not anymore, relative to the pain root canals once caused. There was a time, not so long ago, when getting endodontic surgery was very painful indeed, but thanks to modern anesthetics and especially new local anesthetics, which are so good, most people experience only a minimal discomfort today. Even the needle which administers the local anesthetic is applied to areas already numbed by a topical anesthetic, a cherry favoured gel which desensitizes the patient’s gums. Dental science is now so advanced that pain really is a thing of the past.

How much does a root canal cost?

Root Canal Treatment costs between $540 and $1250 dollars in Toronto. Also referred to as endodontic therapy, a root canal is sometimes the only option to retain a tooth that has suffered severe damage or has become infected. Front and back teeth have a varying number of roots. Root canals on incisors (front teeth) usually cost less because they only have one root, while the same procedure on molars (back teeth) will invariably cost more because these teeth have three or more roots. Teeth that are calcified i.e. older adults may be more costly. Radiographs help determine the difficulty of the root canal. At Archer Dental we also work with independent endodontists to assist with the most complex cases. Read more about Oral Surgery at Archer Dental.

What causes a root canal?

Neglect causes root canals. It takes some time for a tooth to decay to the point where endodontic therapy is recommended. Warning signs of tooth decay, such as cavities, will occur and fester for months or even years before it becomes necessary to pursue such intensive treatment. Yet there are some common situations that can make a root canal procedure more likely. Failure to brush or floss regularly allows the continued development of bacterial biofilm that turns to plaque. Flossing helps clean hard-to-reach areas between teeth. Not visiting the dentist regularly means there is no supervision and dental ailments get exponentially worse over time.

How do you know if you need a root canal?

A reoccurring pain is the foremost sign of advanced tooth decay. Sharp pains when eating or drinking cold liquids, which persists afterwards, is another sign of infection. Just because the pain isn’t always present doesn’t mean the situation shouldn’t be immediately treated. The pain in your tooth might bother you from time to time, but it will always return as the underlying medical condition worsens. Other symptoms might include a whole-face pain, a soreness deep in the bone of your tooth which you feel in your jaw, or in other teeth and this can cause headaches. Swollen gums near an infected tooth may seem itchy and make eating difficult. The swelling may come and go and be tender to the touch. The tooth itself might feel loose as acidic waste products from tissue decay can soften the bone around the root, causing mobility. Lastly, tooth discoloration might also be indicative of advanced decay. The breakdown of its interior can give an infected tooth a grayish-black appearance.

How long does a root canal last?

Archer Dental has very good results with endodontic therapy. The vast majority of our patients report no pain after the procedure and only minimal discomfort during surgery. The restored tooth should remain maintenance free for years and infection free for decades.

How is a root canal done?

Archer Dental’s Root Canal Procedure has evolved over time with new medication and instrumentation and our own experience; we’ve performed countless endodontic surgeries at all three locations in the many years we’ve been in business. If you’re reading this and wondering exactly what happens, let us guide you through the proceedings.

Step 1: Topical & local anesthesia is applied

Cherry flavoured topical anesthesia is administered by the dentist to the site before needles to inject local anesthesia are used to numb the tooth and surrounding area. The attending dentist will then wait a few minutes until the area is completely numb before beginning treatment.

Step 2: Dental dam to protect patient’s mouth

The dental surgeon and dental assistant will apply a dental dam which is a thin sheet of rubbery material that allows the dentist to concentrate on the one specific tooth receiving treatment. The sheet effectively blocks out all the other surrounding teeth and provides a sterile environment to reduce the risk of infection by the natural bacteria in a patient’s mouth.

Step 3: Drilling and removing decayed matter

To access and remedy the infection deep in the tooth, a small hole is drilled in the surface. Depending on the location of the tooth, this hole may be along the biting surface or into the back of the tooth.

Step 4: Remove tissue and nerves

Special root canal tools are used to remove the dead pulp tissue and nerves. At this point, the affected tooth will no longer be able to feel pain.

Step 5: Disinfecting the affected tooth

Perhaps one of the most important steps of the procedure is disinfecting the inside, or canals, of the affected tooth.

Step 6: Insert flexible root canal tools

Flexible root canal tools are inserted into the canals of the tooth to help shape an area for the filling and sealer. A final cleaning is performed at this point to remove any remaining debris.

Step 7: Apply synthetic filling material

A rubber-like, thermoplastic filling material called gutta-percha (originally derived from a plant in Malaysia) is applied into the root canals and set in place by an adhesive cement sealer. The sealer is very important to keep the tooth from becoming reinfected later.

Step 8: If needed, post may be inserted

Depending on the structure of the affected tooth, a post may be inserted into the root canal during the filling process to help hold the temporary or permanent filling in place. If you receive a temporary filling, it is very important to come back for a permanent filling or crown to reduce the risk of infection down the road.

In most cases, an antibiotic will be prescribed to treat any remaining infection. It is common to feel some minor pain and discomfort after the procedure, but it should only last a couple of days.