A root canal, or endodontic therapy, is required to treat the tissues inside the tooth. This tissue is referred to as the nerve or pulp. The nerve gets damaged as a result of infection or trauma. The infection is typically caused by deep cavities that spread bacteria into the nerve. When left untreated, the nerve will eventually die and the infection will spread into the jawbone, forming an abscess. An abscess is a serious and often very painful infection.
After the tooth is completely numbed, a root canal treatment begins with making an access hole in the tooth. The infected and dead nerve tissues are delicately removed. Afterwards, the inside of the tooth is shaped, cleaned, disinfected, and filled with a stable material.
The purpose of a root canal is to treat the inside of the tooth. The tooth still needs to be restored to proper form and function. Root canal treated teeth become brittle over time and often requires crowns (caps) to strengthen them and protect from fractures.
Root canal treatments have been given a reputation as a painful dental procedure. Contrary, most patients present with pain and find root canal treatment brings them great relief. During the procedure, you will be numb and most patients have little or no pain after the treatment. Patients that experience mild to moderate discomfort will be prescribe the appropriate pain medication.