Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth, and root canal therapy is the procedure most central to the practice of endodontics. 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 area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then create an opening through the top of the tooth into the canal. They 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. Often times, a tooth that has undergone a root canal must be fitted with a crown. This can improve the appearance and structural strength of the tooth, and make it more likely that the root canal will be successful.
Despite its unfortunate reputation, root canal therapy is actually the quickest and most effective way to turn dental discomfort into comfort. Local anesthetics and appropriate analgesic medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no discomfort. Any soreness following the procedure is easily managed. Over the counter medications are usually enough to maintain comfort afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe stronger medication if deemed appropriate. The procedure provides relief from infection, allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love whether they are hot, cold, or chewy. If you are experiencing dental discomfort, consult your dentist today!