The most common–and most feared–endodontic procedure
Root Canal (Endodontics)
Root canals have a reputation for being unpleasant, but advances in dental technology in recent years make this endodontic procedure much more manageable for most patients. With the use of local anesthetics and pain medication, many patients experience little to no pain.
What is a root canal? Root canals take place when a tooth becomes infected. Infections are typically related to the nerves in the root of the tooth, so a root canal is performed to remove the infected nerves. When left untreated, an infection can quickly become an abscess, which is a serious problem that often leads to bone loss in the jaw. Therefore, root canals are important procedures to have taken care of right away.
To perform a root canal, the area surrounding the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic. The dentist then drills into the tooth to create an opening, allowing the infected tissue to be removed. A sealant called gutta percha is then used to fill the space where the infection was.
We highly recommend fitting the tooth with a crown immediately following a root canal. A crown will not only improve the appearance of the tooth, but it provides the tooth strength and stability following the trauma of infection and repair, helping to ensure the success of the procedure.
Some soreness may persist following the procedure, but OTC pain medications are often sufficient to treat the discomfort. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe pain medication.