Jan Michael Rella, D.M.D.
Sinikka Kazanjian, D.M.D.
Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are the most common endodontic procedures. When a tooth becomes infected, it’s usually related to the nerves in the tooth’s root—and those infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated, the infection can turn into an abscess, a serious problem that causes pain and may result in loss of bone in the jaw.
During a root canal, the area around the tooth is anesthetized, and the dentist accesses the tooth to create an opening into the canal, enabling him to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. The space is then filled with a sealant. To improve the appearance of the affected tooth and ensure the success of the root canal, we recommend that the tooth be fitted with a crown.
Although the term “root canal” carries scary connotations for some patients, the advances in technology have made it less frightening. Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no discomfort. Over-the-counter painkillers are usually sufficient, but your dentist may prescribe medication. The procedure will also eliminate the pain caused by the infection, allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any discomfort from heat, cold, or biting too hard.