Endodontics is the dental field that is concerned with treatment of the dental pulp and the tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. Root canals are the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics.
When a tooth becomes infected, the nerves or pulp of the tooth is affected. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated, the infection can turn into 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 a local anesthetic. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the canal. The infected tissue will be removed and the canal will be cleaned. The opening in the tooth is then filled with a sealant called gutta percha. In most cases, the tooth is then fitted with a crown. The crown will help ensure that the root canal is successful while also improving the appearance of the tooth.
A root canal procedure is unpleasant for most dental patients but advances in dental technology have made the procedure less uncomfortable. Local anesthesia and proper medication reduce the pain a patient experiences. There is usually soreness in the mouth following the procedure, but that is normal. Over-the-counter pain medication is usually enough to keep a patient comfortable, but your dentist may prescribe medication.