The treatment of the dental pulp and the tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth is known as endodontics. Within the field of endodontics is the notorious dental treatment known as a root canal.
When decay causes a tooth to become infected, it affects the nerves or pulp of the tooth. The infected nerves sometimes need to be removed, which is the procedure known as the root canal. An untreated infection can become an abscess which could lead to more serious problems, including bone loss in the jaw.
A root canal begins when the area around the tooth is numbed with an anesthetic. An opening is then drilled in the top of the tooth and the infected tissue in the nerve canal is removed and the canal is cleaned. The opening in the tooth is filled with a sealant called gutta percha. In most cases, the tooth is then fitted with a crown. The crown ensures that the treated area of the tooth is not exposed to further damage while also improving the appearance of the tooth.
Root canals are becoming more comfortable because of advances in dental technology. Local anesthesia and proper medication reduce the amount of pain a patient experiences. Soreness in the gums and mouth is not unusual following the procedure, but over-the-counter pain medication is usually enough to ease the pain for patients. Your dentist may also prescribe a pain medication depending on the individual.