When tooth decay is left to feed off your enamel, it breaks down your tooth and infiltrates the soft center called the pulp. The pulp is vital in your tooth’s growth and consists of blood vessels, nerves, and tissue. When your pulp is beyond treatment, your dentist will remove it, known as a root canal. A root canal on molars is a standard procedure as they do most of the chewing and can deteriorate quicker under immense pressure.
When is a Root Canal Performed?
When your specialist performs a root canal, he removes the soft center of the tooth because it’s infected, inflamed, or has sustained an injury. So even though the pulp is no longer there, the crown will still be able to function.
However, it does weaken the tooth, and your dentist will recommend you have a dental crown placed on top to create additional support for the tooth.
Multiple elements can harm your pulp, like:
- Tooth decay that has penetrated the pulp due to an untreated cavity
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Previous procedures were performed on the same tooth.
- Injury to the tooth could arise from a contact sport or a fight; even though the tooth is not damaged outside, it could still affect the pulp.
Symptoms can include:
- Severe toothache
- Sensitivity to cold and hot food or beverages
- Tender gums
Root Canals Performed on Molars
When it comes to having a root canal on your molar, it could take longer and cost more; the reason being that they are harder to reach since they are right at the back of your mouth.
In addition, molars have multiple canals compared to some incisors that only have one, making it hard to diagnose them properly. Your dentist will take X-rays, but it still requires a sharp eye to measure all the bacteria in the molar.
Duration of a Root Canal Procedure on a Molar
Because molars are situated right in the back of your mouth, they are harder to reach. In addition, they can have up to four canals which extend the procedure quite significantly. This is why you should always go to a reputable dentist, as it can take up to 1 ½ hour.
The Cost of a Root Canal on a Molar
A root canal procedure is not cheap, and it is even more expensive for molars. In addition, the workload is more since they have multiple canals, which is why they cost more.
Many different factors affect the price of a root canal, like your location and which tooth needs treatment. General costs vary between:
- $750 -$1,000 for an incisor
- $820 – $1,250 for a bicuspid (middle row)
- $1,100 – $1,850 for a molar
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What will happen if you Avoid a Root Canal?
It is essential to have your teeth often examined, at least once every six months. If you leave a cavity untreated, the infection can penetrate other areas of the mouth. This can lead to alternative dental or medical conditions; you might also need to extract the tooth.
What are the Alternatives to a Root Canal?
Usually, your dentist will recommend a root canal as a last resort, which means there was no other possible treatment. Unfortunately, this means the only other alternative is to extract the tooth.
When your dentist extracts a tooth, bone loss sets in immediately, and your remaining teeth slowly start to move. That’s why it’s imperative to have a bridge, implant, or partial denture placed. However, nothing will compare to saving the natural tooth, which is why you should take good care of them.
What are the Disadvantages of a Root Canal?
A root canal is the only way to preserve the natural tooth while removing the infected pulp to prevent further decay. However, there are some disadvantages to having this procedure which include:
- A strict oral hygiene routine
Because the tooth no longer has its core, you need to make sure you take extra care to prevent further deterioration.
You will need to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, even better if you brush after every meal. Flossing is also vital, and ensure to use a fluoride-infused mouthwash.
- Professional cleanings
Once the procedure is performed, you will need to visit your dentist often for check-ups and professional cleanings to ensure no further decay can develop.
- Chipped or Cracked teeth
Because the tooth is devitalized, it is more susceptible to chips and cracks when under pressure.
- Discoloration of the tooth
You might also notice your tooth darkening after having a root canal performed. This happens when your dentist hasn’t cleaned the canals properly and missed a tiny bit of pulp. But, again, there are solutions for discoloration like whitening treatments, crowns, and veneers.
A root canal is a procedure necessary to treat infected, injured, or inflamed pulp in the tooth’s center. This procedure takes longer when performed on molars because they sit in the back of the mouth, which makes them harder to reach.
In addition, they have multiple canals, so the procedure takes longer. These factors also make it tougher to perform the surgery, making it more expensive.
Avoiding a root canal is a bad idea because the infection can further destroy your teeth and lead them to crack or break, and you will have to have it extracted. If this is the case, it would be best to get a bridge, implant, or partial denture.
There are disadvantages to having a root canal; for example, devitalizing the tooth makes it weaker, and you will have to maximize your oral hygiene routine. It can also cause discoloration of the tooth, which can be embarrassing.
Always visit your dentist when you experience a toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold, inflammation, and tender gums, because you may need a root canal.