Treating the dental pulp and the tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth is known as endodontics. Within the field of endodontics is the dental procedure known as the root canal.
When a tooth becomes infected, the nerves or pulp of the tooth are affected. The infected nerves sometimes need to be removed. An untreated infection can become an abscess which could lead to more serious problems, including bone loss in the jaw.
A root canal procedure begins when the area around the tooth is numbed with an anesthetic. An opening is then drilled into the top of the tooth. Infected tissue in the nerve canal will then be removed and the canal will be 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 helps with the appearance of the tooth while also helping to ensure that the treated area of the tooth is not damaged further.
Although unpleasant for most dental patients, advances in dental technology have made the root canal procedure less uncomfortable. Local anesthesia and proper medication reduces the amount of pain a patient experiences. There is usually soreness in the gums and mouth following the procedure, but over-the-counter pain medication is usually enough to comfort a patient. Your dentist may also prescribe a medication depending on the individual situation.
For more information, call the Columbia Dental Care & Associates office at (407) 933-4343.