Endodontics is the area of dentistry that deals with the nerves of the teeth (the pulp, the internal portion of the tooth). Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected it is usually related to the nerves inside the root of the tooth. The damaged nerves need to be removed in order to save the tooth. If left untreated an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that can include bone loss in the jaw.
The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. An opening is made in the tooth so the dentist will then be able to remove the damaged tissue and clean the canal. After the damaged tissue has been removed it is very important to thoroughly wash out the root canal system. Finally, the space is typically filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal procedure is restored with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth and will protect it from further damage.
"Root canal" has become a scary term for dental patients to hear but the benefits of the procedure and wonderful advances in technology have made it much less "scary". Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no discomfort. Over the counter medications (Advil or Tylenol) are usually enough to relieve any discomfort afterwards but Dr. Struble can prescribe additional medications (if necessary). The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection allowing you to enjoy the foods you love without the pain from cold, heat, or chewing. If you are experiencing discomfort please call us for an examination today!