A root canal is a procedure to save a tooth that is dead, damaged or infected. The pulp, or living part of the tooth, is made up of nerves and blood vessels. It is contained in the pulp chamber, a space inside the center of the tooth, which holds the pulp and extends into the roots.
A tooth can become infected or die for a number of reasons:
- Decay — bacteria causing tooth decay infects the pulp.
- Trauma — a traumatic injury can cause an inflammation of the pulp.
- Deep fillings — fillings that have to be placed close to the pulp chamber because of tooth decay or tooth fracture.
- Unexplained — sometimes the pulp can become inflamed and can die for no apparent reason.
During a root canal procedure, the nerve is removed from the “canal” inside of the root, which is then cleaned, filled and sealed.