Endodontics is the proper word for a root canal. Root canals have an unduly bad reputation. With modern anesthetics, a root canal should feel like nothing more than a little vibration. When decay has permeated beyond the enamel, bacteria is able to get into the nerve of the tooth and cause an infection. This infection often causes an abscess at the tip of the root which can cause inflamation, pressure, heat, and severe pain. It is very important to remove this dead nerve tissue and kill the bacteria to alleviate the discomfort. The only other option is removal of the tooth, or surgical procedures where the tip of the root is accessed and cleaned out by drilling through the bone under the gums.

In a root canal, we open a small hole in the top of the tooth, clean out the infected nerve tissue, place medicine to kill the bacteria, and seal the tooth back up. After observing the tooth for a week or two, we will repeat this procedure, adding a filling material in the hollow canal before sealing the tooth. There are many different methods for root canal therapy, but we have very high rate of success using this approach. It is important to know that the tooth has lost it’s vitality – it no longer has blood flow or nutrients and will be more brittle. Because of this, teeth receiving endodontic treatment should be crowned.