Root Canal: Symptoms, Treatment, and Cost

root canal

Root Canal explained

While many people have heard of a root canal you may not know what exactly it is. The term root canal can refer to two things both the inner part of the tooth which is between the pulp and the tooth roots, and the dental procedure in which infected material is removed from this canal in order to relieve pain. The root canals contain nerves and blood vessels to help keep your teeth healthy. 

After an adult tooth has been fully-formed the tooth nerve doesn’t serve a specific purpose other than sensing heat cold and some other stimuli while eating. The removal of the nerve an infected tooth is part of the standard procedure of helping to treat tooth pain which is caused by decay or infection of the tooth pulp.

Causes of root canals

Root canals are caused by a variety of things but they are primarily caused by tooth decay damage to the teeth and disease. Tooth decay is when bacteria has begun to infect tissue in the mouth, eating through the surface of the teeth and then infecting the pulp of the tooth.

Damage to a tooth not only weakens the tooth’s structural integrity but it allows bacteria to slip in and infect the tooth pulp. Trauma to the teeth greatly increases the chance of needing a root canal. Disease similarly can increase the risk of needing a root canal as your immune system is suppressed or the disease might spread into the tooth.

Symptoms of a root canal

Having tooth pain is one sign of needing a root canal, however not every kind of tooth pain is an indication of this. the signs you should watch out for is serious tooth pain while eating or well pressure is put on the tooth, sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers long after the hot or cold food has been removed, a small pimple-like bump on the gums at or near the area of the tooth pain, darkening of the tooth, and tenderness or swelling of the gums near the area of the tooth pain.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms along with an increased level of pain in your teeth you should contact your doctor right away and set up an appointment for a root canal.


Treatment of a root canal is a fairly basic procedure. It is a multi-step procedure that involves removing the infected tissue and then sealing the tooth in order to protect it from future infection.

 First, you will receive an x-ray to determine where the infection is in the tooth. Next to local anesthetic will be applied in order to numb the pain while the procedure happens. You will also get a small sheet of rubber 1/6 to the area in order to keep it dry.

Then your dentist will drill a small access hole into the tooth and use a special set of tools to remove the damaged and infected tissue. Once all the material has been removed your dentist will either seal the tooth on that date or place a temporary filling while the crown is made. Sealing the tooth is an important step as this prevents future infection.

Finally, your dentist may ask you to come back to receive the crown filling or other tooth restoration. Many people who have undergone a root canal described it as being similar to having a cavity filled. 

What to expect to pay

Generally, you can expect to pay about $350 for an incisor and at least $520 for a molar root canal procedure. This cost is influenced by a number of factors including the severity of the infection the kind of dental professional who is treating the problem and even other factors like location and what insurance will cover.

 It is important for you to do your research before going into the dentist office so you’re not caught by surprise by the expense. However, remember that even the most expensive root canal will be many times less expensive than a dental implant.

After the procedure

After the procedure, you will receive a crown which will seal the tooth to help guard against future tooth pain. It is important that after the procedure you maintain good dental health including a daily Dental Health routine that includes brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Doing so will help prevent future infection and keep your teeth healthy for a long time.

If you feel like you would like to learn more about a root canal or speak to a dentist about what your options are and you live in La Verne, CA, give La Verne Dental & Implant Center a call at (909) 596-1155.