A tooth with damage to the nerve can be saved with a root canal. When performed properly and with the latest techniques, this procedure does not have to be painful.
What are endodontics?
Endodontics are procedures involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp. Endodontic treatment is synonymous with a root canal treatment. Root canals occur when a tooth is infected and the nerve has died in the tooth.
This dental treatment is performed under local anesthesia to remove a damaged nerve (or root) while saving the tooth. I am very experienced at performing root canals and as my patients can attest, the procedure can be painless.
How is a root canal performed? Is it painful?
I remove the root and the bacteria there, then use a temporary crown to save the entire tooth. A week later the permanent crown is ready.
The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago but with modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as "painless" than patients who have not had root canal treatment.
When is a root canal necessary?
A root canal, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive (and painful) than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant. If a tooth is causing pain and the nerve is damaged, a root canal can be the best way to save the tooth.
Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate, and root canal-treated teeth often last a lifetime.