A root canal infection is treated with a root canal procedure, which entails removing damaged pulp and nerve tissue inside the tooth, explains WebMD. Although the root canal procedure is typically considered highly painful, it tends to be approximately as painful as the placement of a filling.
The root canal procedure involves removing the pulp and nerve of the tooth, followed by cleaning out its inner part and sealing it, states WebMD. The dentist first applies anesthesia, which may not be necessary as the nerve is dead, but is nonetheless applied for the patientﾒs peace of mind. The tooth is then enclosed with rubber, and a small hole drilled to gain access to the toothﾒs inside. The dentist uses root canal files inserted through this hole to remove the pulp, bacteria and dead nerve tissue from the inside of the tooth. After cleaning, any remains are flushed out with sodium hypochlorite or water. The tooth is then sealed, either on the same day or up to a week later.
Infection occurs within the pulp of a tooth as a result of the spread of bacteria and other debris, according to WebMD. If the pulp or nerves suffer damage, bacteria are likely to multiply at the site. An infection may eventually lead to serious problems, including reduction of bone at the root of the tooth, the formation of a hole at the side of the tooth, and swelling that can spread to various parts of the head and the neck.