Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. When a tooth becomes infected, it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated, an infection can turn into an abscess which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.
The tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will create an opening into the canal. He will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal be fitted with a crown. This will strengthen 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 so. Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed virtually pain free. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal for most dental procedures. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe medication. 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 after a root canal, consult your dentist today.