Simply: Root Canals

YOU MAY HAVE just been to see your dentist who has told you that you require a root canal. Unfortunately, you have drifted off thinking about it while your dentist explained why. But there’s no need to panic! We’re here to help explain what a root canal is and why you might need one.


What Is A Root Canal And Why Would I Need One?

Each tooth will have a number of roots, and the canals in each root contain nerves. The root canal procedure is where the inside of the tooth – the pulp and nerves – are removed.

A root canal is often used to treat or save teeth that are damaged, infected, or necrotic (dead). Most importantly, a root canal can save a tooth rather than extract it – preventing other teeth from drifting out of place and forgoing the need for replacement. In other words, there’s no need for an artificial tooth such as an implant, partial bridge, or denture.

For example, a cavity might get so deep that it reaches the nerve of the tooth. A deep cavity is when people start to experience aches and sharp pains.


How Is A Root Canal Performed?

  • First, your dentist numbs the area around the tooth
  • Next, they use a dental instrument to create a hole on top of the tooth
  • They use tools to remove the pulp before using small instruments to clean out the inside of the canals and remove the nerves
  • Then the dentist coats the inside of the tooth in a layer of antibacterial solution
  • Afterwards, they fill the canals with natural rubber-like material. It mimics the original tissue of the tooth – this helps keep the tooth strong
  • Finally, the dentist restores the crown of the tooth with a filling or crown.

A display tooth shows an example of a root canal inside the tooth


How Does This Work With My Dental Insurance?

A root canal is an endodontic procedure and often falls under endodontic or basic restorative services. (Some plans may have it listed as a “Major” dental procedure.)

A general dentist can perform them. If your case is complicated, the dentist may refer you to an endodontic specialist who will perform the root canal. After that, you would return to your general dentist to complete the filling on top of the tooth.

If the dentist refers you to a specialist, you will need to find out if your plan covers specialist fees or not.

Coverage of specialist fees indicates if your insurance would cover the root canal at the specialist fee guide or the general practitioner fee guide.


What About Pricing?

Root canals can be expensive, depending on their complexity. The number of tooth canals influences price. Price may also fluctuate if a specialist does the procedure. Therefore it is highly recommended that you compare your treatment price with your remaining annual insurance maximum. It will help you estimate how much you will need to pay out of pocket.

However, it is essential to note that you should not delay if you require treatment like a root canal. Because the longer you wait, the worse your tooth might become. As a result, it could cost you more in remedial treatment. We understand that a root canal diagnosis may make you unsure. In that case, you always have the option of seeking a second opinion to double-check!

After being examined by your dentist, you can ask your dental office to submit an estimate directly to your insurance or provide you with an estimate form.

Your insurance will process it and send correspondence to you as the policyholder!


ABOVE ALL, PLEASE REMEMBER: If your dentist recommended a root canal and you are no longer feeling pain, it might not be a good sign. In short, this could mean the nerve in the tooth is dead, and an infection may form.


Do you think you need a root canal? Firstly, book to visit your dentist for an examination to see what your options are. Your dentist will be able to advise you if they can perform the root canal or if you need to visit a specialist. You can book an appointment with us here.

Want to read more? Check out this excellent summary on root canals by the Canadian Dental Association.

This post was reviewed by our very own Hammad Afif, D.D.S.




This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about dental, oral health, and related sub­jects. The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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