A root canal is an endodontic treatment which is performed by a dental professional when a tooth has a pulp which is infected or is dead or dying. The pulp of the tooth is located in the centre of the tooth, it is soft and contains the tooths nerves and blood vessels.
The pulp of the tooth can become infected or dead due to a cavity, a crack, trauma or continued damage to the tooth. The two most common causes of a dead or infected pulp are cavities and cracks in teeth.
When a root canal is performed it is done so in several stages and so can require several appointments.
It involves drilling a small hole into the tooth to make an opening to access the pulp, the dentist will then remove the infected tissue, clean the canals of the tooth and fill the canals with a permanent material. The opening made in the tooth will then be filled.
In some situations, a dentist may recommend that a post be inserted into the canals of the tooth to help make the structure of the tooth stronger.
In a majority of cases a tooth should have always then have crown placed on it to protect the tooth from further breakage as it can become weak after this procedure.