Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected, it often involves the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves therefor need to be removed. If left untreated, an infection can turn into an abscess, which can be a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss, bone loss in the jaw or infection in the bloodstream.
The area around the tooth is anesthetised with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then create an opening through the top of the tooth into the canal spaces inside. We then remove the infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is typically recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.
"Root canal" has become a scary term for dental patients to hear, but the benefits of the procedure and advances in dental technology have made it much less "scary". Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no discomfort in most cases. It is common to experience some soreness following the procedure, and you should avoid chewing on the involved tooth until it is pain-free and properly restored. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards and we may prescribe medication in some cases. The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any pain from heat, cold, or biting too hard. If you are experiencing pain consult your dentist today.