In the past, teeth with diseased nerves have been removed from the mouth. However, through a root canal, most of the diseased tooth can be salvaged. In most cases, the root canal procedure is a simple treatment that involves little to no patient discomfort.
Within the walls of each tooth, a strand of dental pulp – the substance that supplies the tooth with nerves, nutrients, connective tissue and blood vessels – laces downward into the root. If the dental pulp becomes diseased, the pulp dies, cutting off the nutrients and nerve signals which the tooth needs to be healthy. If the diseased pulp is left in the tooth, the tooth will become infected, forcing it to need extraction.
Root canals allow the dentist to remove the pulp, clean the canal and seal the tooth, effectively protecting and saving the tooth. After an opening is created through the crown of the tooth into the dental pulp chamber, the pulp is removed. The canal is cleaned out, and the pulp chamber is permanently filled.
The dentist will proceed by putting in a temporary filling. Afterwards, the temporary filling will be replaced with a permanent filling or a crown, depending on the location of the tooth within the mouth.