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Root Canal Therapy - Torrance, CA

Repairing Your Smile

The reputation that precedes root canals is not great. You may have said, “I’d rather have a root canal…” to indicate how very little you would enjoy an activity. If you do need a root canal, however, we have good news - the rumors about them being painful aren’t true! Actually, root canals can significantly relieve pain. Let the Blue Coast Dental Group change your mind about root canals. We offer root canal therapy to restore oral health, relieve pain, and save a tooth that may otherwise need to be extracted. Keep reading or contact our team to find out more today about root canal therapy in Torrance, CA.

Why You Might Need a Root Canal

Man holding jaw in pain before root canal therapy

Root canals or root canal therapy are procedures recommended for patients who experience tooth decay or damage that involve the innermost layer of the tooth called the pulp. Because the nerve system is housed within the pulp, patients in need of a root canal often experience severe pain or dental sensitivity. The only way to know for sure that you need a root canal is to visit your trusted dentist. However, some of the warning signs of a need for root canal therapy include:

  • Severe toothache - either sharp pain when biting down or a dull ache, on some occasions both
  • Dental sensitivity - lingering discomfort after the exposure to hot or cold foods and beverages that does not abate quickly, especially if you do not typically have sensitive teeth
  • Darkening of one tooth- usually near the gum line
  • Infection, sores, or inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding one particular tooth

The Root Canal Process

X-ray of root canal treated tooth highlighted red

A root canal is actually a relatively straightforward procedure. To ensure complete comfort, we numb the area around the damaged tooth. Then, we create a small access hole from the top of the tooth into the pulp layer. We carefully extract all the pulp and nerve tissue through the access hole and debride (clean out) the inside of the tooth. Next, we refill the prepared tooth with a biologically similar substance called gutta percha. We then reseal the access hole using a composite filling material. In most cases, we also place a dental crown over the top of a root canal treated tooth. This strengthens and protects the tooth to prevent any further damage or decay.

The Importance of Preventive Dental Care

Woman flossing her teeth

In most cases, we see patients needing root canals on an emergency basis because an injury has damaged their teeth or a lack of preventive care has led to severe decay. Fortunately, most root canals can be prevented with improved oral hygiene. That means better daily brushing and flossing routines at-home as well as visiting your Torrance dentist at least every six months.

Understanding the Cost of Root Canals

Dentist smiling while holding face mask with glove

As you may have guessed, there are multiple factors that go into determining the cost of root canal treatment. That’s why we need to conduct a thorough exam before we can provide you with an accurate estimate of the price! In the meantime, you can read on to learn more on the topic – from whether or not it’s cheaper to extract your tooth to if dental insurance typically covers a portion of the cost.

Factors That Can Affect Root Canal Cost

Dentist reviewing X-ray with smiling patient

To determine the cost, we need to consider:

  • The location and type of tooth. Compared to your front teeth, molars have a more complex anatomy. Therefore, the latter typically costs a bit more.
  • The complexity of your case. With a dentist, prosthodontist, periodontist, and oral surgeon at our Torrance dental office, it’s extremely rare that we have to refer our patients to an outside specialist. However, it is something you need to consider, particularly if you’re visiting an office that doesn’t have all of these professionals in-house.
  • Any additional services that are needed. For example, the restoration that’s used to protect the treated tooth moving forward, like a dental crown.

Is it Cheaper to Pull My Tooth?

Dentist using pen to point to model of teeth

Initially, you might think so! However, it’s important to consider the short and long-term costs. For example, a tooth extraction might be cheaper. However, you need to fill the gap in your smile ASAP with a dental bridge, denture, or dental implant (and each comes with its own price). If you don’t, then numerous other problems can arise – from bone loss to a misaligned bite – which can be costly to fix. Simply put, although root canal treatment might require a higher investment upfront, it is also typically a one-time treatment, and patients can enjoy the results for a lifetime.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Root Canal Treatment?

Dental insurance paperwork on desk with X-rays and glasses

Typically, yes! Although the fine print on dental plans varies, it’s common for providers to cover anywhere from 40% to 80% of the cost. Of course, waiting periods, annual maximums, and the like will also play a role in your available benefits. Don’t worry – our team at Blue Coast Dental Group is happy to welcome dental insurance. In fact, we are in-network with some of the nation’s most popular providers, including Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, and Delta PPOs!

Other Options for Making Root Canal Treatment Affordable

Closeup of woman sitting in dental treatment chair and smiling

With us, there is more than one way to save. In addition to welcoming dental insurance, we offer our patients the following financial solutions:

  • Flexible Financing – Instead of paying for the entire cost of your treatment at once, you can space out your payments into manageable chunks.
  • In-House Membership Plan – In addition to saving on essential preventive care, you can enjoy perks like a free emergency exam and a 20% discounted fee schedule.
  • Special Offers – With our periodic special offers, you can lower your out-of-pocket expenses while improving the health, function, and look of your smile.

Root Canal FAQs

A dentist in Portland discussing root canal therapy with a patient

Okay, now you’re considering getting a root canal in Torrance. That’s great news — treatment will ease your pain and save your tooth! Still, you may want to know a few things about the procedure first. It’s best, after all, to go into a dental visit with an idea of what to expect. To that end, Blue Coast Dental Group can help: here are the answers to some frequently asked root canal questions. By reading them over, you’ll know the basics of the therapy. If you don’t find the facts you’re looking for, though, just call our office or book a visit to get more details.

What Should I Do Before a Root Canal?

For starters, you should eat a healthy meal the night before your root canal. (Junk food could upset the affected tooth.) Ensure the dinner doesn’t include alcohol, either, as the latter would aggravate your pearly white’s inflammation. The same goes for bad oral habits like smoking or teeth-grinding.

After eating, the next step is to get a good night’s sleep the night before treatment. Not only will it make you less nervous, but it’ll also keep your immune system safe and help you recover more quickly.

Before your procedure, you might also want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Doing so will reduce the discomfort as the anesthetic’s numbness wears off.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

In general, a root canal in Torrance can be done in one appointment. For that reason, the treatment time can range anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes or more — it’ll depend on your tooth’s location. Sometimes, however, the therapy takes two visits. When that happens, the first appointment involves placing pain-relieving medicine on your tooth.

Keep in mind that molars have more root canals than front teeth. As such, your procedure will take longer if your pearly white is further back in the mouth.

How Much Pain is Normal After a Root Canal?

Thankfully, the root canal procedure itself shouldn’t hurt you. That being said, you may feel some soreness for a few days post-treatment.

Once the anesthesia wears off, you’ll likely experience mild pain and sensitivity. Still, this effect is temporary and can be managed with OTC pain relievers. Examples of the latter medicines include acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

While you wait for the discomfort to pass, you’ll need to be careful of your tooth. As such, try to avoid chewing hard foods during the recovery period.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Root Canal?

While root canal recovery differs for everyone, most patients can return to work or school the day after treatment. Even so, keep in mind that your mouth will feel sore for the next few days. Therefore, take prescribed or OTC medications as directed.

On the other hand, recovery is longer in some cases. For example, if your job requires physical labor, take the next two or three days off. Vigorous exercise would disrupt your procedure’s healing process.

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