Category Archives: Root Canal Treatment

Can’t afford a dental bill but I need a root canal

Last month I had a cavity filled and I had to pay for it out of pocket. I saw a dentist in a hurry because I had a toothache that was getting worse. I thought something was stuck between my last two top right molars because it didn’t hurt until 2 days after I ate popcorn. The pain kept getting worse. I was able to floss and pick until a piece of popcorn kernel came out but my tooth kept hurting. There was nothing I could do but get to a dentist fast. He said I had a cavity and the popcorn kernel probably irritated it. He filled the cavity the next day and I had to pay for it out of pocket because my insurance only covers cleanings and exams. The problem is that the same tooth has started hurting again. Now I think I need a root canal and I cannot afford another dental bill. I just finished paying for the filling and it still hurts. Now I am not so sure that there really was a cavity. How do I get a root canal if I can’t afford another dental bill? – Dexter


Dexter – Although you need an affordable dentist, take a moment to consider the potential seriousness of the condition of your tooth. If you do need a root canal treatment for your tooth, it is a time-sensitive situation. If it is left untreated, your dental expenses—and possibly medical expenses—can escalate quickly.

A root canal treatment removes infection from a tooth. An untreated infection can affect other teeth, your jawbone, and in serious cases, spread into your bloodstream. A progressive dental infection can also become a medical problem. So consider the consequences of not treating the tooth.

You may not need a root canal treatment. Your tooth needs to be x-rayed and examined to find out the cause of your pain. It is possible that there is tooth decay remaining that was not removed. Have the tooth examined again. You may want to receive an examination from a different dentist, as a second opinion. Contact a few dental offices first to find out the cost of root canal treatment without dental insurance.

Another option is to find a new dental insurance plan. You might be able to find a plan that provides more coverage. Find out how soon you can start using benefits for different services, including root canal treatment. Even if a new insurance plan has a higher monthly premium than your current plan, it will probably be less expensive than having to pay out-of-pocket for root canal treatment. If you do need the treatment, your tooth will need to be protected with a dental crown, or which you will incur additional expense.

For each dental office you contact, find out what can be done to make treatment affordable for you. Most dental offices offer some type of financing or payment plans that allow you to pay for treatment based on your budget.

The condition of your tooth is a dental emergency. Don’t put it off. Find a skilled, but affordable dentist who can help.


This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Can’t afford a dentist? Five ways to prevent a dental emergency.

Can’t afford a dentist? You may be interested in ways to prevent a dental emergency. Here are five:

  1. Brush and floss daily. You should brush your teeth twice daily and thoroughly floss between all of your teeth every day. Why? Brushing and flossing remove trapped food between your teeth that can otherwise lead to decay and plaque. Decayed teeth progressively worsen and lead to cavities. Untreated cavities progress and eventually require a root canal treatment. Plaque can lead to gum inflammation, causing gums to bleed and eventually, full-blown gum disease results.
  2. Wear a mouth guard when playing sports. Mouth guards protect the teeth, gums, cheeks, tongue, and lips. A significant blow to any one of these areas can lead you to a dental chair and a dental bill that is more expensive than a mouth guard.
  3. Don’t use your teeth to cut things or to try to open things. Trying to open a package, a bottle, or anything else with your teeth can seriously cut your gums or harm your teeth. The progressive pain will require the attention of a dentist. And an urgent care or emergency room trip won’t do. You may receive pain medication or antibiotics. But you will also be referred to a dentist for an examination.
  4. Avoid chewing ice or popcorn kernels, and don’t bite hard objects. These items can weaken your teeth and cause them crack or chip your teeth. An untreated crack or chip can worsen with time and require dental bonding or a dental crown.
  5. Regularly get your teeth professionally cleaned. And that applies even if you don’t have dental insurance. Get your teeth cleaned anyway. The out-of-pocket cost to get your teeth professionally cleaned helps prevent periodontal (gum) disease. It also assists in the early detection of cavities and other dental problems that, if left untreated, can escalate into more serious and more costly issues.

Remember that a dentist’s priority is to help you maintain good oral health. He or she will help you receive preventive care that is affordable for you.

If you have an unavoidable dental emergency, most dentists schedule time in each day for emergency appointments, so call right away for an examination.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

1 dentist recommends a dental implant and the other a root canal

I saw 2 dentists about a tooth that has been giving me a lot of problems. 1 dentist recommends a dental implant and the other a root canal. Which would be better? Marcel

Marcel – If a natural tooth can be preserved without causing you pain and discomfort, or compromising your oral health, that’s always the better option. Do you have information on the condition of the tooth? Were you told what to expect in two or three years—or even less time—if you choose to have your natural tooth restored?

These are factors that can help you make a decision. It may also be helpful to know that a 2008 study published in the Journal of Endodontics shows that a dental implant is more likely to need maintenance that a root canal treatment.

The three-year study followed 129 dental implants and 149 root canal treatments. While only 1% of the root canal treatments needed further attention, 12% of the dental implants needed intervention.

Of course there are times when dental implants are the best option. In fact, they are the most natural looking, feeling, and functioning form of tooth replacement.

In addition to statistics, you can consider getting opinions from specialists—perhaps an endodontist (specializes in root canal treatments) and a prosthodontist (specializes in tooth restoration and dental implants) or a dental implant surgeon. Taking a little extra time to explore your options will give you confidence in making a decision about your treatment.


This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Should I get a root canal and a crown or have the tooth pulled?

I have a tooth that is really broken down. My dentist gave me the option of pulling it or getting a root canal and cap. What will happen with either treatment? – Thanks. Lexi

Lexi – If possible, dental professionals prefer to save your natural teeth, rather than replace them. If you receive a root canal treatment, the pulp of your tooth will be cleaned out. A ceramic crown, often referred to as a cap, will be placed over the tooth to protect it from further damage.

If you decide to have to tooth extracted and the space is left empty, other teeth in the vicinity will eventually drift toward the empty space. And in time, the bone that once supported the tooth will shrink. A missing tooth should be replaced with a dental implant. The structure of a dental implant is the same as a natural tooth. The root form of the implant will prevent the surrounding tooth from moving. The implant will look and feel like a natural tooth.

It sounds as if your dentist did not mention getting a dental implant to replace the missing tooth. If that’s the case, and you want to have the tooth extracted, make an appointment with a dentist who places implants. The implant will help prevent further problems with movement of other teeth.

This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

I’ve had a toothache for a few days

I’ve had a toothache for a few days and I am wondering what I can do. Thanks for your help. – Rob

Rob – At times, a toothache is caused by food that is trapped between the teeth, or between the teeth and gums. If food is trapped, thoroughly flossing may release it and relieve your toothache.

A toothache is often a sign of a tooth infection. If the pulp of your tooth is infected, it will need to be cleaned out with a root canal treatment. An infected tooth should not go untreated. The infection will continue to spread. It can spread into the bone and into your bloodstream.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the cause of your toothache, along with the appropriate treatment for it.

This post is courtesy of Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Does my child really need extensive dental work?

Our dentist is recommending some pretty heavy treatment for our 5 year old daughter. I’m not so sure that a child needs crowns or a root canal treatment. These are primary teeth that she is going to lose, so why put all of that time and money into them? And why should we put our daughter through all of the dental appointments required to get the work done? I appreciate your input. Tia

Tia – The condition and position of children’s primary teeth can affect the growth of permanent teeth. Primary front teeth loosen and erupt between ages 6 and 7. But the eruption of most premolar and molar teeth occurs between ages 10 and 13, depending on the particular tooth in question.

Cavities spread quickly in primary teeth. If you daughter’s primary teeth need to be protected or saved, it’s to ensure the proper development of her permanent teeth. If endodontic treatment (pulpotomy is the term for pediatric root canal treatment) is not performed, the infected tooth could be lost.

Teeth that are infected or decaying can cause discomfort and pain, and they are unhealthy for the remaining teeth. Your dentist is considering your daughter’s long-term oral health.

Parents can help preserve their children’s teeth by avoiding or limiting sugary drinks and snacks, which promote tooth decay. Children’s teeth should be brushed and flossed when they appear. As your child grows and is able to handle a toothbrush and floss, teach him or her to practice good oral hygiene. Many dentists examine children’s teeth as early as age 2 or 2½.

If you are uncomfortable with your pediatric dentist’s recommendations, consider getting a second opinion.

This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Should the tooth be extracted or should I receive a root canal?

Last year I had a filling replaced in tooth for the third time. About 4 months later I had pain in the tooth again. My dentist gave me a root canal and put a cap on the tooth. Every thing was ok until last month when the tooth started hurting again. Now my dentist says I need another root canal treatment. Should I have just gotten the tooth pulled? – Greg G.

Greg – An endodontist specializes in root canal treatments. So visit an endodontist for advice on whether or not a root canal treatment is best, or if the tooth should be extracted. If the tooth can be saved, it will be less expensive to preserve it than to extract it and replace it with a dental implant or a dental bridge.

The empty space from an extracted tooth should not be left that way. When a tooth is missing, adjacent or opposing tooth will drift into the space and cause additional oral health issues.

The second opinion from an endodontist will help you make an informed decision.

This blog post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.