Root Canal (Endodontics)
Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are synonomous with endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected it usually affects the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves then need to be removed. If left untreated an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.
The term 'root canal' used to be enough to keep even the strongest away from the dental office. However, due to modern technology and local anesthetics, most root canals are performed with little to no pain in most cases. There may be some soreness after the procedure that can be lessened with over the counter painkillers.