Unfortunately, the bacteria causing the infection are feeding on the remnants of the dead nerve within the tooth. The only way to fix it is to clean and remove that food source and create a disinfected environment to the starve the bacteria. Only then can your body control the infection and bring that tooth back to health.
The good news is that a root canal should be able to fix the problem—and save your infected tooth as well. Unlike the feared root canal treatment of decades past, today’s root canals are no worse than getting a run-of-the-mill filling. In fact, the pain that usually brings you to the dentist will be far worse than the procedure itself. The area is completely numbed, so you will not feel any pain. Once the infection has been removed, you will feel further relief.
The procedure itself is simple: Through a tiny hole drilled into the affected tooth, your dentist will remove the infected pulp and any other bacteria that are present. Once the area is thoroughly cleaned, it is doused with antibacterial medicine, filled, and sealed to protect it from further infection. A crown on top of the remaining tooth structure will give you back full chewing function.