Root Canal Treatment Guide: Complete Rundown of the Procedure
The following article will give you a rundown of root canal treatment, a surgical procedure that stresses our patients most of the time. Although it sounds a little scary, you have to know that it can save your teeth and thus improve your chewing and eating altogether. Let’s see what this procedure can do for you, what is the root canal cost in Singapore, what steps it involves, and everything in between.
What is a Root Canal?
This is an anatomic space within the tooth that is stuffed with connective tissue, anatomical branches, and the pulp chamber. However, in many cases, the term is employed in the sense of an endodontic treatment that serves to fix an infected tooth so that the patient can use it normally.
Unless you have root canal treatment, the tooth in question has to be removed. This creates a gap in the mouth and can lead to a multitude of other issues. To prevent them, a dental bridge or implant might have to be inserted, which makes the entire experience more uncomfortable and, most of all, exorbitant.
Why Do Roots Get Infected?
Teeth may appear tough on the outside but they enclose a soft inside that you can’t normally see. As you know, the outer layer is your enamel, the thing that gives your bite strength. It is made mostly of mineral and is semi-translucent, which means anything underneath it can alter its colour. Like the dentin, which is the inner layer. It is softer than the enamel.
Then, there is cementum which is even softer. And finally, at the very centre of the tooth is the dental pulp. It houses all the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth that are essential for its formation and growth. It is also a huge source of pain, in case you are wondering where your teeth troubles are rooted in.
When tooth decay is not given medical care for too long, it can spread to the pulp and damage it. That’s the number one reason for infections in that area. Other factors are a fractured root or a chip/crack on the surface. Sometimes, although not the main source of infection, repeated interventions to one and the same tooth might cause harm to the pulp.
How does tooth decay progress through the pulp? You probably are aware that decay forms on the outermost layer but if the enamel is not as thick as it should be, the decay can penetrate it and get to the dentin. Root canals get infected when microorganisms which are in the oral cavity manage to breach the hard dental tissue, which is easier if the tooth structure is compromised. The way these microorganisms do this is bu acidic dissolution of hydroxyapatite1. From there, it is easier to spur inflammation and growth of bacteria. Hence, infection.
What is interesting is that the tooth, once formed and fully developed, can pull through without its pulp. In fact, it is the surrounding tissues that keep it alive, so taking out the nerve tissue and blood vessels does no harm and as an added bonus, it eliminates the pain. This is what’s dubbed root canal treatment and we are about to unravel more details about the procedure.
Signals You Need a Root Canal and Tooth Restoration
The following symptoms indicate the need for a root canal infection treatment:
- Chips or cracks in the tooth
- Tender/swollen gums where no other known cause exists
- Sensitivity to hot and cold that stays on long after the cause has been removed
- Gum pimples
- Darkening of the gums
- Deep decay
- Pain with biting and chewing
Root Canal Treatment in Singapore Explained Step by Step
So, what is root canal treatment finally? Let’s embark on it. For this procedure, you will go to a medical practitioner called an endodontist2. Although it is not uncommon for dentists to offer this service, it is recommended to stick with a root canal specialist in Singapore. Here is what to expect.
- The first step is to have an X-ray taken on your teeth so that the specialist knows if the infection has spread to other regions and where to work on. This will also help detect other potential problems down the road. If necessary, additional work will be carried out.
- Before the root canal procedure gets underway, you will receive local anaesthesia to keep you relaxed and free from pain. Once it kicks in, the endodontist will isolate the damaged tooth from the rest by placing a protective sheet over the area. It not only keeps the spot clean but also protects it from saliva.
- When the prep is done, it is time for the actual root canal treatment. The specialist will drill into the crown of the tooth-to-be-treated to make an opening which will allow them to drain bacteria and dirt from the infected pulp tissue. They will use small instruments to get access to the section. At this point, all root canals will be cleaned.
- After they extract the nerves and connective tissue, they will fill the now-empty space with a biocompatible material (like gutta-percha). It acts as a base for the crown. The goal is to give the tooth stability. Then, they will seal the canals with adhesive cement to make certain everything stays in place. It is paramount that no gunk or bacteria can seep into the root canals from that moment on.
- Next up, the technician will likely place a temporary filling to close the gap that the procedure left so you can eat normally until your next visit. You will have to return to the dentist’s office for another appointment so they can finish off the process.
- In most cases, the last phase of the root canal treatment is to put a crown over the restored area so that it functions like a real tooth. It is not obligatory but the majority of patients do need one.
Recovery after Root Canal Surgery
Technically speaking, root canal treatment is surgery and its effects can last for a few days before you begin to feel better. Here is the thing, after the infected pulp is extracted, you will no longer feel pain; however, the area will be sensitive for a while. If you experience any aches and pains after a root canal procedure, you can take OTC meds to deal with it. However, recent analysis of multiple studies of the Endodontic literature suggest that little over 5% of the patients who had experienced root canal treatment have reported at least some form of pain of up to 6 motnhs or even longer after the treatment.3
Root Canal Treatment Cost Singapore
The price is largely affected by the tooth location. To illustrate it better, a root canal on molars is usually more expensive to treat because of the positioning - it is not the most accessible area, so to speak. More so, the back teeth tend to have two or three root formations instead of one, which makes the treatment quite complex and laborious. The price ranges from $200 to $1,200.
For anterior teeth, the price is capped at $600. If a pre-molar is to be given root canal treatment, it will cost between $200 and $800.
That said, it is always better to choose this procedure over tooth extraction, the reason being the latter will require the use of an implant or dental bridge. And these two are way costlier solutions in the long run.
Now, keep in mind that there are other factors that will bloat the cost of root canal treatment, other than the location of the damaged tooth. X-rays, lab work, plus fees on anaesthesia and medication should all be counted in.
Not to mention, a tooth restoration using crowns is the more likely outcome, which means the price list will include a dental crown as well.
Lastly, if you find yourself a good root canal dentist in Singapore, the price will go up. It may be tempting to choose a more affordable practitioner so you receive cheap root canal treatment, yet it is vital to understand that this is a complex procedure that calls for impeccable technique and heaps of expertise. It is your health you are putting on the line.
In some geographical areas, root canal treatment may go through with dental insurance policy but on the island, Medisave will not reimburse your expenses4. This means you will have to pay for it out of pocket. Feel free to talk about your payment options with your dentist and see if you are eligible for any compensation.
How to Prevent Root Canal Treatment
Once you develop a root canal infection, you have no choice but to a) treat it, or b) extract the affected tooth. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do to prevent another root canal from going down.
The best thing you can do is to take the utmost care of your teeth. Remember to go to your annual dental check-ups where your mouth will be inspected for gum disease, cavities, and other problems that may affect the life of your teeth. They can also teach you how to brush your teeth more effectively.
The second step is to brush and floss regularly so that the bad bacteria don’t get the chance to linger on. Shun indulging in sugary foods and think about giving up smoking.
Root Canal Infection Treatment FAQ/Q&A
Let us wrap this up with some FAQs.
Q: How long does a root canal treatment take?
A: If you are dealing with a minor case, the technician will take around an hour to rid the root canals of gunk. If the intervention is more complex, expect to spend no more than two hours in the dentist’s office.
Q: Can I go back to work/school right after the endodontic treatment?
A: Yes, it is possible to do that but you have to remember that the affected region will be numb for some time following the procedure, owing to the anaesthesia.
Q: Will it hurt? Is root canal painful?
A: If there is any pain during the procedure, local anaesthesia will make it less apparent and excruciating. In general, you will be comfortable the entire time.
Q: What are some signs that the endodontic treatment has gone wrong?
A: On the rare occasions that root canal treatment doesn’t do its thing, patients typically present with increased tooth morbidity, pain with biting, swelling and tenderness, and blisters in the mouth. If any of these occur after your surgery, contact your endodontist for directions on what to do next. They will ask you to go back to their office for evaluation and additional treatment.
Q: Is crown necessary after root canal treatment?
A: No, it is not. It is placed to provide tooth reinforcement as root canal filling is not enough of support most of the time.
Q: Is it possible these days to perform a root canal and crown in one visit?
A: A lot of clinics are now equipped with machines that allow for the construction of crowns on-site in the span of an hour. They usually have their own labs where the items are fabricated with the greatest precision and quality. So, yes, it is possible to do that but you have to conduct some research to find the medical centres that employ this system.
Q: Is the price of root canal in Singapore higher or lower than it is in other countries?
A: In terms of price, you will notice that root canal treatment varies slightly per country but for the most part, it stays within the same ranges, only the currency is different.
Q: What causes an emergency root canal?
A: If you experience intense tooth pain, an emergency root canal may be a lifesaver. Visiting a 24 hour or emergency dentist is a must in cases like this. It is most commonly caused by a badly injured or infected pulp chamber. Another cause might be that the nerve inside the tooth is infected or damaged.