Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected, bacteria from a large cavity begins to infect the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves may become painful, and need to be removed. If left untreated, a dental infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.
The area needing treatment is anesthetized, and treatment is not started until profound anesthesia is achieved. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the infected canal(s). They will then be able to remove infected nerve tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with gutta percha and sealer. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will not only improve the appearance of the tooth, but it will also ensure the longevity of the root canal therapy and the tooth.