Root Canal

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 often related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. When nerves become infected or inflammed beyond repair, usually due to decay, fracture, or previous trauma, the nerve 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 area surrounding the root. Complex root canals on molar teeth are usually referred to a highly-skilled root canal specialist known as an endodontist.

During a root canal, the area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then create an opening in the top (biting surface) of the tooth to access the nerve canal. She 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 is fitted with a crown as teeth that need root canals are often damaged and weak. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also improve function.

"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 so there is typically very little discomfort associated with the root canal procedure. Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no pain in most cases. There may be some soreness following the procedure especially when infection is present prior to the procedure. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe medication.
If you are experiencing pain consult your dentist today.

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