A root canal is a common dental procedure that is performed over 14 million times in the United States every year. Most people associate root canals with pain and/or discomfort. However, advancements in modern dentistry have made root canals more tolerable and often no less comfortable than getting a filling.
Root canals are valuable dental procedures used to treat and preserve teeth with badly infected roots. The pulp is the live portion of the tooth that extends vertically into the root and contains nerve endings, blood supply, and tissues. When it becomes infected from a large cavity, traumatic injury to a tooth, or from a cracked tooth, patients can experience pain, swelling and even total tooth loss unless treated. Root canals remove pulp, the inner portion of the tooth. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent further infection within the tooth. In most cases after a root canal is completed, the remaining portion of the tooth will need to be restored with a cap or a crown that will reinforce the tooth and prevent fracture or discoloration of the tooth.