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 and blood supply need to be removed. If left untreated, an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone destruction in the jaw, pain, and sometimes swelling of the gums or face.
The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then place a barrier to isolate the tooth from the oral cavity to prevent contamination from saliva and other oral fluids. An opening into the tooth's pulp chamber will be prepared to access the root canal. The infected tissue within the root canal will be removed and the canal cleaned. Our office utilizes rotary endodontics, which is a way of performing the root canal utilizing a specific electrical handpiece and special files. These tools often make the process faster and allows the dentist to perform the process with greater ease, accuracy, and comfort for the patient. After the infection has been removed, the space is filled with a sealer and filling, called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy be fitted with a crown for protection. This will improve the appearance and functionality of the tooth as well as increase the success of the procedure and the longevity of the tooth.
"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 "scary." 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, 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 a stronger pain medication if needed. The procedure will 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 dental pain, consult your dentist today!