When tooth decay spreads to the point that it reaches the pulp and roots of a tooth, a simple dental filling will no longer take care of the problem. As a result, you will likely need a root canal in order to save your tooth. Before you schedule an appointment for your root canal, however, there are a few questions worth asking your dentist.
Are Other Treatment Options Available?
Start by asking about other potential options, if your dentist has not already explained them to you. Generally, the alternative to having a root canal is to extract the problem tooth. If you choose to go this route, you may also want to consider a dental crown or dental implant to restore the appearance of your smile with an artificial tooth after the procedure.
How Urgent is the Root Canal Procedure?
If a root canal is your best option, you may also want to ask your dentist how urgent the procedure is. This is especially important if your dental insurance will not cover the entire cost of the procedure or if you don't have dental insurance. If you are not experiencing tooth pain yet, you may be able to put the procedure off for a short time--though it's important to note that you will need to have it done sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you'll risk developing a bacterial infection, called an abscess, that can be extremely painful.
Do You Offer Sedation for Root Canals?
If you are nervous about the idea of having a root canal done, consider asking your dentist about sedation options. While most patients have root canals done with just local anesthesia, laughing gas or IV sedation options may be available to those with anxiety.
What if the Treatment is Unsuccessful?
In most cases, root canals are successful in removing decay and saving a tooth from needing to be completely extracted. However, there are situations where a root canal may not be successful in saving the tooth, so you should discuss this possibility with your dentist ahead of time. What are the chances that your treatment will be successful and what will your dentist's restorative plan be if it's not?
By taking the time to ask these questions of your dentist before you have a root canal done, you can be better informed about the procedure as well as more comfortable going into your appointment at the same time.