When a dental pulp (nerve) is traumatized, diseased, or dead, it must be removed and replaced with a root canal filling. The filling material may vary from the most popular, rubber like material, gutta-percha, to sterling silver, other metals, plastic, or various cements. The procedure usually requires one or two appointments. The root canal procedure typically is not painful, but some discomfort may be present during treatment and healing. In most situations the therapy is not finished after the root canal has been completed, because the tooth becomes brittle. Often, a reinforcing post is inserted into the tooth through the opening in the top of the tooth. Many teeth are still too weak or unpleasant looking, and a crown (cap) is required to make the tooth both functional and aesthetic. If a large portion of the tooth is missing because of decay (caries) or old fillings. The most common course of treatment is (1) a root canal, (2) possible post, (3) core filling and (4) a crown, also known more commonly as a cap.
The tooth remains in your mouth, pain free. Although the cost of root canal (Endodontic) therapy can be significant, replacing the tooth with fixed or removable prostheses (bridges) may end up costing more than the root canal therapy.
There is a necessary time involvement to accomplish root canal therapy (one or more appointments): one or two additional appointments are often required to restore the dead tooth with a crown (cap). There is also a chance that the tooth may require treatment in the future.
There are not many risks to standard root canal therapy, but some exist:
Root canal therapy costs can vary. The fee for a root canal for a single-rooted tooth costs more than removal of the tooth. Root canal therapy costs more for a multiple-rooted than a single-rooted tooth. There is usually an additional cost if the tooth requires a post, and if a crown (cap) is needed there is a further cost. In summary, when a root canal is accomplished, that may be the only cost, but more frequently, the costs for a reinforcing internal post and a crown are necessary as well.
If you do not treat a tooth with a diseased or dead pulp, continued infection will almost always occur with increased bone degeneration around the tooth, pain, and discomfort. These conditions will ultimately force you to root canal therapy or tooth extraction.