A root canal is a procedure that is used when the nerve of a tooth (dental pulp) is adversely affected and requires treatment. The procedure involves removing the affected nerve tissue from the tooth. The canal of the root is then cleaned and shaped, and finally a filler material is placed in the canal where the nerve tissue was removed. Depending on the location of the tooth, there may be more than one root and/or canal.
Despite some of dentistry’s very worst reputations, root canals are typically not a painful procedure and most people find them to be akin to a regular filling in terms of comparison.
It is always our goal to restore your existing tooth, rather than remove it, but there are cases where an extraction is necessary, such as prior to orthodontic treatment, or when there is severe infection, a crack/fracture, or advanced bone loss. In this case, there are many options available for a patient including a bridge, implant, or partial denture to replace the space left following the extraction. Not unlike root canals, extractions have long been given a bad rap in the pain department, and this is simply not the case. Fortunately, modern dentistry has many tools available to make your experience/procedure pain free.