You may have heard of the treatment, but you’re here to find out what exactly a root canal is. Perhaps you’re fairly sure you’re experiencing root canal pain and you want to know what happens during the procedure and we’re almost certain that if you need it, you’re wondering what a root canal treatment costs. In this post, we’ll answer those questions in detail. If a root canal infection is causing your toothache, root canal therapy is definitely your best option and isn’t as scary (during treatment or at the Eftpos machine) as you’d think.
What is a root canal?
Root canal therapy is a modern dental technique used to treat infections in the soft, inner parts of the tooth called the pulp. Not surprisingly, this pulp is concentrated in canals in the roots of teeth. A root canal treatment is an excellent option if you’d like to avoid an otherwise unnecessary and more painful extraction.
Your First Appointment
If you’re visiting a dentist for a root canal, chances are you’re in a significant amount of pain. We already have a post about the common signs and symptoms of root canal infections here. Ideally, you’ll undergo your root canal treatment straight away for immediate relief from your root canal pain. Occasionally there might be swelling or infection around the problematic tooth that prevents your procedure from happening on the day. In this case, your dentist will prescribe you antibiotics and pain relief and schedule an appointment for your root canal therapy at another time.
Root canal and temporary filling
Root canal treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and won’t feel any different than an ordinary dental filling. Once your dentist has applied the local, you shouldn’t feel a thing during the rest of the procedure. The top of the tooth is opened to access the root canals where the infection is causing you trouble. The infected pulp is removed and the canal is thoroughly cleaned and treated with antibiotics to stop the infection from popping back up again. A temporary filling seals the canal and minimises the discomfort you experience after the procedure.
In between appointments
The few days in between temporary and permanent fillings are the only time you should really experience any inconvenience or discomfort. We have an article on what to expect during recovery here. But as a rough guide, you’ll look after the filled tooth by being careful with which food and drinks you tuck into and manage any pain with over the counter painkillers.
Permanent filling and sealing
After a few days, you’ll visit your dentist for a checkup on the temporary root canal. If they’re happy that the infection has been cleared up, it’s time for your permanent filling. The temporary filling is removed and replaced with a much sturdier permanent filling. In some circumstances, a dental crown can be applied to the top of the tooth; this completely seals the tooth, leaving it as healthy and safe from further infection as possible. After this appointment, the hardest part is well and truly over. In most cases, you’ll return to your normal routine the day after.
How much does a root canal cost?
The cost of your root canal treatment will vary depending on several factors. It’s important to remember that some teeth have more than one root and canal. Not every canal in a tooth may need to be treated, and the number of canals involved in a single treatment has the biggest impact on price. The time and expense involved in seeing a good dentist and receiving an accurate diagnosis is the best way to ensure you receive the right treatment and minimise the final cost of your root canal therapy.
X-rays will help your dentist correctly diagnose your toothache and determine whether a root canal treatment is the best option for you. They’ll also help determine how many of the canals in a tooth need treating. This also helps give you the most accurate estimate of the cost of your root canal therapy before you start the procedure. At Kew Dentistry your X-Rays will only cost you $55 each. Remember that your private health insurer probably covers dental scans. Diagnostic dental X-Rays are also eligible for a partial Medicare rebate. We can let you know the best way to limit your out of pocket expenses at the time.
Dentists don’t charge for temporary fillings, rather the end result. The cost of preparing the tooth and removing infection, cleaning, medicating and filling the canal/s is entirely dependent on how many canals in the tooth need treating. You will usually get billed per canal, with the first canal attracting a set fee and each subsequent canal being charged at a slightly lower rate. To give you a rough idea; at Kew Dentistry, root canal therapy costs roughly $250 – $350 in total, with the addition of extra root canals that need treating.
Permanent filling and crown
Seeing your dentist following temporary filling is vital to ensure the infection causing you trouble has been treated completely. This may involve further diagnostics, including X-Rays with associated costs. Replacing the filling with a more permanent seal is usually billed at a standard rate. The biggest impact on price will be whether your dentist recommends a crown seal or not. At Kew Dentistry, these finishing touches to your root canal therapy, including the crown, will cost you $1950. Although the price is an increase in the initial investment, the permanence of the crown will save you money in the long run.
Book an appointment for your toothache
We hope you now have a better idea of what to expect during root canal therapy (and on your bill). The take-home message is that if your toothache is root canal pain, the convenience and relief of a modern root canal treatment is well worth the cost. If you think you’re experiencing root canal or other serious dental pain, it’s always best to get in touch with us and book an appointment.