Root Canal Procedures: Specialist Dental Professionals

If you have severe tooth pain you might need a root canal to save your tooth. Learn about root canals and how to find dental specialists near you today.

A root canal is a common dental procedure performed by a dental specialist. Having a root canal performed helps eliminate pain and infection caused by damaged or inflamed tissues located inside the pulp (soft portion) of the affected tooth. These procedures are only performed by dental specialists (endodontists) and you need to know how to find the best endodontists in your area. It is also helpful to know what to expect before having a root canal performed. Continue reading to learn more about root canal procedures and how to find the best professional dental specialists in your area today.

Root Canals- Learn the Basics Here

A root canal is a type of routine dental procedure, which is performed to eliminate infection and pain caused by damaged or inflamed tissues located inside the soft portion (pulp) of your damaged tooth. Root canals are performed by dental specialists, also referred to as endodontists. The procedure involves the removal of the inflamed or damaged pulp. Following this removal, the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. Once cleaned, the inside of the tooth is then refilled, albeit with a material called “gutta-percha.” Gutta-percha is a rubber-like substance designed to fill and seal your tooth. Once your tooth is sealed, a crown will be placed on its end. The crown protects and restores your tooth’s normal function and appearance indefinitely, including your natural ability to chew and smile. 

Root canals are performed in lieu of full-tooth extractions. They are designed to help correct and save your damaged teeth, so you do not have to replace them with implants. While it might seem intense, a root canal has become a common and routine procedure in modern times. Modern technology has made the procedure comfortable for patients and many dental specialists perform dozens of root canals each week.

Details About Dental Specialists

Dental specialists are highly skilled dentists with more education and training than possessed by regular dentists. Essentially, the difference between a typical dentist and a dental specialist is akin to the difference between your primary care doctor and an orthopedic specialist, or between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. In fact, dental specialists, officially referred to as endodontists, have up to three years more education than regular dentists. Endodontists perform root canals and other specialized procedures such as dental implants, endodontic retreatments, and endodontic surgeries. Endodontists also help their dental patients manage oral and tooth-related pain.

Time to See a Dental Specialist? Here’s How to Know

When your tooth or multiple teeth are decaying or damaged, the pain quickly becomes excruciating. More serious health issues are also soon to follow. Both the pain and exacerbated health issues are preventable if you seek treatment right away, however. If the symptoms you are experiencing include severe tooth pain, swollen or bleeding gums, redness, or sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures - it is time to make an appointment with a root canal specialist. A root canal specialist (endodontist) focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of injury and disease to the pulp of your teeth. What happens during a root canal procedure? Continue reading to find out more.

How to Schedule a Root Canal Appointment

As a first-time patient It is advisable to locate several preferred endodontists. However, you first need to check with your insurance provider about your dental plan coverage. Inquire about important details including:

  • What procedures are covered.

  • Your deductible, co-insurance and maximum coverage amounts.

  • Conditions of your waiting period.

  • Which dental specialists are in-network (meaning your insurance will work at their facilities).

  • If your preferred in-network dental specialist accepts your insurance (some in-network providers do not accept Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurance so it is best to double-check).

If you are a first-time patient, you will be required to fill out more paperwork or e-file forms than if you are an established patient. First-time patient appointments often take longer to schedule because more work and time is involved. Established patients might be seen faster for the opposite reasons. If you are a first-time patient with a severe or emergency dental situation, some end endodontists make exceptions and schedule you quickly.

All required forms must be filled out before you arrive at your appointment to avoid delays and rescheduling risks. Be certain to bring your insurance card and photo identification whether you are a new or established patient. Always arrive early, also to avoid delays and risks of rescheduling. Once seen, the endodontist will capture a picture (digital image) of your damaged tooth or teeth. All affected areas will be tested. The risks and benefits of a root canal or other recommended procedure are explained and discussed. A localized anesthesia is administered prior the commencing the procedure. Typically:

  • A root canal is completed during one office visit.

  • You are provided with a post-treatment care plan.

  • You are scheduled for a follow-up appointment to ensure proper healing has occurred. 

What Causes Root Canals?

Damage or inflammation leading to the need for a root canal occurs for multiple reasons. The primary reasons include cavities, cracked teeth and periodontal disease. Trauma to the teeth or mouth also potentially leads to the need for a root canal, as do certain inadequately performed dental procedures.

Typical Costs

The typical cost of a root canal varies based on the severity of the damage and the dental specialist’s pricing policies. The entire procedure might cost up to $1,500 or more. Various dental insurance policies and plans are available. Unfortunately, most of them do not fully cover the costs of root canal procedures if they cover them at all. Overall, anticipate your out-of-pocket costs for a root canal to range between $200 and $1,500+ per tooth, depending on the location of the treated tooth.

Ways to Save

Two non-insurance-related ways to save on the cost of a root canal include paying cash in-full at the time of the procedure and scheduling with a dental specialist without seeing your regular dentist first. Both your regular dentist and a dental specialist will charge for the initial examination. Going straight to an endodontist avoids charges for a second “initial” exam. Most endodontists also offer significant discounts to patients who pay for procedures in full. This often saves more money than paying for a specialized dental plan. If you cannot afford to pay in full, other options to save do exist. These options include:

Find the Best Dental Specialist Near You

Searching for the best dental specialist near you is simple to do online using Google and Yelp. Website such as Zocdoc specialize in finding medical and dental professionals and are extremely helpful with searching for qualified endodontists. Additional search resources include: