Root Canals

So today I had my very first root canal done by an endodontist. If you must have a root canal done, I highly recommend having an endodontist perform the procedure, as opposed to letting your dentist do so.

When I got there they took an x-ray of the tooth. Then I was hit with a topical anesthetic and once the doctor actually timed it to make sure I wouldn’t feel the needle for the novocaine (in reality it’s lidocaine but everyone knows it as novocaine.) injections. Four shots of novocaine to be precise.

Then a rubber dental dam is place around the tooth and your mouth, so that none of the gunk gets in your mouth. They then clamp the tooth and get to work.

They use a long drill at first but since most of my tooth had already been drilled by my dentists, we didn’t need to go far. Normally the entire procedure takes an hour, I was in and out in a half hour. It’s just like getting a filling to some degree, except there is a series of small files used to hollow out the root canals on the tooth.

Totally painless. Except when it came time for the bill. $995 for one tooth, but I guess it was worth it since it was a smooth operation from beginning to end. Luckily my out of pocket was $273, but now I’m maxed out on my dental benefit until January.

This brings up an interesting point. Years ago they’d have just yanked all your teeth and fitted you for dentures. Nowadays they go to extreme measures to restore a single tooth. I figured out the reason for this. When you consider that in the last few months I’ve had my wisdom teeth taken out, a bunch of x-rays, a cleaning, a tooth filled, and now the root canal. Total to dentists, oral surgeons and endodontists comes to $2,873. For work on six teeth. That’s an average of $478 a tooth.

Normal human being has 32 teeth. I’ve got 26 since two teeth were taken out for orthodontic reasons 25 years ago, and the other four that were taken out were my wisdom teeth.

Lets say I need work done on a dozen teeth at $478 per tooth. That’s $5,746! How much are total extractions and dentures? I bet they’re cheaper than that.

It’s a real racket that the dental profession has these days.

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