I tend to be a very anxious dental patient, and for many dental appointments I need gas or Valium or something besides novocain to get me through it. But if I needed a root canal treatment on a front tooth, I would tend to worry less about that appointment than most other dental treatments. Fears of root canal pain are generally exaggerated.
Root canal (endodontic) treatments on front teeth are the easiest to do. Many dentists don't refer these treatments to specialists, and they probably don't need to.
What's involved in doing endodontic treatment on a front tooth
Here are the reasons that these front teeth are so easy:
Access: The front teeth are in front. The patient doesn't have to open wide. The dentist can see easily down into the tooth and into the canal. The hand instruments can be inserted easily and manipulated freely. With molars, the access is limited and the dentist has to operate by feel a lot. See our page on basic endodontic information for what's involved in this treatment, and you'll see what we mean.
The roots for front teeth are generally straight. One of the great difficulties in doing these treatments is that the dentist has to negotiate long, skinny curves in the teeth. To fully clean out a tooth, the hand instruments have to go around these curves and then be twisted around to clean out the tooth. Not only does this take skill, but when the metal cleaning file is curved and then twisted, there is a risk of breaking off the file inside the tooth, which greatly complicates the treatment.
These canals inside the front teeth are wider than in back teeth.
And, front teeth generally have just one canal. Molars have three or four.
Premolars, while they are not front teeth, are also considerably easier than molars. Premolars will have one or two canals, and while these can be more curved and narrower than in front teeth, they tend to be larger and straighter than in molars.
As a result, the root canal cost for a front tooth is the least.
Donnie's dentist wants her to put a crown on a dead tooth, and this seems strange to her. Dr. Hall explains that it's only dead on the inside and can still last for the rest of her life.