You wouldn't take a car in for repairs or have work done on your home without understanding the problem and how it would be fixed. Local anesthesia is administered via injections to numb the tooth to be treated and the surrounding tissues. If the pulp in a tooth is acutely inflamed, and therefore very painful, it may take a while to get it numb, but your dentist will not start the treatment until it is. Our orthodontists are at your disposal.
A dental dam is placed over the affected and adjacent teeth. The tooth undergoing treatment protrudes through a hole punched in the dam, isolating it from the rest of the mouth. This allows the root canal treatment to be carried out in a sterile environment free from contamination by bacteria found in saliva or the rest of the mouth. The canals are then shaped with tiny flexible instruments to allow them to receive root canal fillings and sealers. The canals are washed and cleaned again to remove root canal debris before sealing them. Root canal fillings are selected that will exactly fit into the freshly prepared canals. Usually, a rubber-like material called gutta-percha is used to fill the canal space.
It is a thermoplastic material (Thermo = heat; plastic = to shape), which literally is heated and then compressed into and against the walls of the root canals to seal them. Together with adhesive cement called a sealer, the gutta-percha fills the prepared canal space. Sealing the canals is critically important to prevent them from becoming reinfected with bacteria. A temporary or permanent filling material will then be placed to seal the access hole that was made to treat the canals, and the dental dam is removed.