Root Canal (Endodontics)
Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are the most common procedure in endodontics. When a nerve becomes infected it is usually because a cavity has progressed through the enamel and the dentin to the pulp. The infected nerve needs to be removed. If left untreated the localized infection can cause pain and even develop into an abscess.
Root canal treatment starts with numbing the tooth with a local anesthetic. The dentist will then open the tooth from the top to reach the nerve tissue. Files and irrigants will then be used to remove infected tissue and clean the canals. After the canals have been shaped and disinfected, the space if filled with a material called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that most teeth treated with a root canal be covered with a crown. This will strengthen the tooth and make it less likely to fracture.
"Root canal" has become a scary term for dental patients to hear, but advances in dental technology have made it much less "scary". Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow most procedures to be performed with little to no pain. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve post-op pain. The procedure will relieve you from heat and cold pain. Best of all, you will have retained your own tooth in function. If you are experiencing pain consult your dentist today.