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What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment, also known as nerve treatment, is a necessary procedure if the root canal (or jawbone around the root of a tooth or molar) is seriously infected or is expected to become infected. Teeth and molars consist of a part that reaches up from the gums, the crown, and a part underneath the gums, the root(s). Teeth generally have one root, molars can have multiple roots. Each root has a canal, the root canal, which is comprised of blood and nerve vessels.


When is root canal treatment necessary?

If you have severe, throbbing pain, or chronic toothache, it may be due to a root canal infection. An x-ray at the dentist usually provides a definitive answer immediately. When the nerve tissue in the root canal is indeed infected, root canal treatment is inevitable.


What is infected nerve tissue?

Usually, an infection of a root canal is caused by a bacterial invasion from the oral cavity. These bacteria penetrate deeply into the root canal due to tooth decay (caries) or a leaking filling. Infection can also be caused by a hard blow on a tooth, for example, when falling. An infection does not always cause symptoms right away. In many cases, extreme sensitivity when drinking warm or cold beverages is the first sign. If the infection remains untreated, it can expand to the jawbone around the root of the tooth or molar in a later stage. The nerve has then died and any touch of the molar is painful.


What does a root canal treatment entail?

An infected root canal has to be removed, whether it has died or not. The dentist first drills a small hole in the tooth or molar to access the root canal. The canals are then cleaned with small files, right up to the end of the root. In order to determine the root length, one or more x-rays of the root are made. During the treatment, the root canals have to be flushed through. To make sure that this is done very precisely, TAND150 dentists use a surgical microscope. When all canals are clean, they are filled wih inert material. This helps prevent future bacterial infections in the roots. Finally, a filling is placed in the tooth or molar. Sometimes the tooth or molar is so severely damaged by tooth decay and the treatment, that a filling won’t suffice. In those instances, a crown is placed to make sure the tooth or molar lasts for a very long time.


How long does root canal treatment take?

A root canal treatment of a tooth takes around 30 minutes. Treatment of a molar with multiple root canals takes about an hour.


Is root canal treatment painful?

With an anesthetic, root canal treatment is usually not painful. However, nerve treatment can sometimes cause afterpains. This is normal. Generally, this lasts a couple of days. With a regular pain medication, such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), afterpains are very well manageable. If the pain persists, please contact us.


What does root canal treatment cost?

Root canal treatment costs between €300 and €500.


Is root canal treatment covered by my health insurance?

If you are under 18 years old, root canal treatment is fully reimbursed by Dutch basic health insurance. Are you over 18 years of age? Then root canal treatment costs can be (partially) covered by additional dental insurance. Depending on your insurance company, a certain percentage is reimbursed up to a maximum amount.

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