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Root Canal Therapy – West Seneca, NY

Stopping Pain and Saving Teeth


When severe decay or damage affect a tooth, root canal therapy is the last option before its extraction is necessary. While root canals are associated with being severely painful, options in anesthesia and sedation make the process a breeze. Keep reading to learn more about root canal therapy in West Seneca, NY available from the team at Applegate Dental.

Why Choose Applegate Dental for Root Canal Therapy?

  • Sedation Options for Soothing Pain
  • High Quality Crowns
  • Expert Dental Team That Cares

Root Canals Defined

Animated inside of a tooth before root canal treatment

Root canal is a phrase that most patients dread hearing. When it comes to root canal therapy, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that root canal therapy is really no more painful than other restorative treatments like dental crown placement or fillings, but the bad news is the infection of the pulp which houses the dental nerve that leads to root canals is extremely painful. Root canals are necessary when dental trauma or decay reaches the innermost layer of the teeth known as the pulp. Warning signs that you may need a root canal include:

  • Severe toothache – both constant throbbing and sporadic sharp pains are reported
  • Sensitivity to temperature – lingering pain or aching when tooth is exposed to hot or cold foods and beverages
  • Dental discoloration – darkening of a specific tooth usually near the gum line
  • Infection in the gums – if gums around one specific tooth are swollen, oozing, or irritated, that tooth may need root canal therapy
  • If you notice one or more of these concerns, contact us right away. We’ll remove the damaged pulp, refill the tooth, and typically place a dental crown to reseal and protect the root canal treated tooth.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Man in need of root canal therapy holding jaw

Root canal therapy is necessary when infection or decay has reached the pulp of the tooth, or the part commonly referred to as the “nerve.” An untreated cavity will continue to decay until it reaches the pulp. A crack or break in the tooth allows bacteria to seep into its interior, causing infection.

Your tooth’s pulp may be infected if you experience sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweets, or if you feel pain when you bite down on the tooth. A tooth requiring root canal therapy often becomes discolored, and a pimple-like bump may form on the gum below the tooth. Do not delay seeking treatment if you suspect you have a decayed or infected tooth.

What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?

Animated root canal therapy process

The length of your root canal depends on the severity of your infection. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotic therapy to begin healing before the endodontic treatment. Most root canals are completed in one to two visits.

Many people associate root canal therapy with discomfort, but it is usually the pain leading up to the procedure that causes the real issue. With anesthesia and sedation available at Applegate Dental, you are sure to relax your way through your endodontic treatment.

To begin the procedure, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area. Then the interior of the tooth is reached through a small hole, and all infected tissue is carefully removed. Once the tooth has been cleaned out and disinfected, it is refilled.

In the same visit or a follow up appointment, a temporary/permanent crown or filling is placed to restore the strength of the tooth and prevent further decay.

Your dentist will discuss your treatment plan with you in depth, including how long you can expect it to take, and whether or not you will need to wear a temporary restoration.

Following Your Root Canal

Smiling man in dental chair after root canal therapy

If your root canal is carried out over two visits to the dentist, you will wear a temporary filling between appointments. Be careful with this restoration, as it was not meant to withstand extreme force or pressure. Try to limit chewing to the other side of your mouth, and avoid chewy, sticky, and crunchy foods altogether until your tooth has been completely restored.

Right after your root canal, you will experience the side effects common to any oral procedure. Follow your doctor’s directions carefully to minimize bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. Take all pain medication as prescribed and maintain a nutritious soft foods diet until you feel comfortable eating regularly again.

Understanding the Cost of Root Canals

calculator, tooth, and piggy bank

Before you have your decayed or damaged tooth treated, you may wonder about the cost. For many patients, cost is a major concern, which is understandable. At Applegate Dental, we want to be completely transparent. When you’re in our office, we can talk about specific numbers because it’s nearly impossible to do so here! But we can share basic concepts relating to the cost that can help you make smart decisions about your care.

Factors That Can Affect Root Canal Cost

When calculating the cost of root canal treatment, we take several things into account. For instance, we consider which tooth is being treated. Certain teeth are more challenging to access than others. The cost also depends on the extent of the decay or injury. In some cases, we need to penetrate through the tooth and beyond the root to remove all infected tissue. When this happens, the cost tends to be higher.

Is it Cheaper to Pull My Tooth?

Instead of going through the root canal process and paying to restore the tooth afterward, extraction may seem like a better alternative. However, when a tooth is removed, you then have to worry about replacing it. Otherwise, your remaining teeth could drift out of alignment. Paying for a partial denture or a bridge is cheaper than getting a dental implant, but the latter is the only one that keeps your jawbone and smile healthy in the long term.

All of this information boils down to this: keeping and repairing your natural tooth will cost less than having to replace it with a prosthetic.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Root Canal Therapy?

Overall, most dental insurance plans include coverage for root canal therapy. The specific percentage may vary, but usually about half of the cost is paid by insurance, which means you can expect to pay the other 50 percent out-of-pocket.

When we create your treatment plan, we can look deeper into your policy and do everything we can to save you as much as possible.

Other Options for Making Root Canal Therapy Affordable

In addition to accepting dental insurance, our team is happy to work with you and come up with a payment plan that fits your budget. In fact, we can help you with the financing application process. If you qualify, you can have low-interest financing through CareCredit, allowing you to pay for your root canal therapy over time instead of a one-time payment.

Root Canal FAQs

woman smiling with confidence

When you consider getting a complex treatment like a root canal, you may have further questions. At Applegate Dental, we want you to be sure and confident you’re getting all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your smile. Below are answers to some common questions about this procedure—we hope they’ll put any fears or uncertainty to rest. If you have more questions, feel free to call us and ask!

What Could Happen If I Put Off Getting a Root Canal?

Tooth decay and damage does not go away or get better on its own. In other words, it will only get worse over time. Even if your tooth pain stops, it doesn’t mean that the problem is gone. It likely means the tooth has died completely. Without proper treatment as early as possible, you put not only your tooth at risk but your entire mouth and overall well-being as well. The sooner you address your weak tooth, the better!

Why Is a Natural Tooth Worth Preserving?

Perhaps you are thinking that it might be easier to simply remove the tooth entirely and replace it. But it is almost always better to save a tooth than to extract it—whenever possible. The truth is that natural teeth, even those that have undergone root canal treatment, can do things prosthetic teeth can’t. For instance, your natural teeth let you know when you’re biting down too hard on certain foods, helping you avoid cracking, chipping, and other damage like creating tension in your jaw joint.

What Sedation Options Are Available for Root Canal Treatment?

We offer nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is generally used for minor anxiety or for more minor procedures, and it is gentle enough to work on patients of any age. Oral conscious sedation comes as a pill you take before the appointment begins, making sure you feel its effects throughout the entire root canal. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to have someone bring you to our office and take you home afterward because of the strength of this sedative.

Is It Possible for the Tooth to Become Reinfected?

Yes, it is possible. If you do not take care of the treated tooth, bacteria can find access to the natural tooth underneath and reinfect it. If this happens, extraction will likely be the result. Fortunately, maintaining a tooth after root canal treatment is exactly the same as caring for any other natural tooth. You need to brush and floss every day to clear away sticky plaque and food debris. For added protection, cut back on sweet, starchy foods and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Questions? Contact Us Today

Woman answering the phone

If you have questions regarding a recent or upcoming root canal, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Applegate Dental. And don’t forget you can prevent tooth decay with regular visits to the dentist! Request an appointment for a preventive checkup and cleaning today.