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 is usually related to the nerve of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated, an infection can turn into an abscess--a serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.
The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then create an opening into the tooth's canals. The infected tissue will be removed, and the canals will be cleaned. After the infection has been removed, the space is filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is highly 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 improve the prognosis of the root canal.
"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 pain. There may be some soreness following the procedure. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe pain medication and/or antibiotics. The procedure will 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 dental pain, consult your dentist today.