Graphic showing a root canal procedureA root canal is a dental procedure that is used to remove diseased pulp tissue from inside the tooth. The narrow channels beneath the pulp chamber in the inner part of the tooth are hollowed out and cleaned, and the roots are filed with flexible nickel titanium files.
A tooth is made up of three main components:
a hard protective shell referred to as enamel, a softer and sensitive middle layer referred to as dentin and a soft tissue inner layer referred to as dental pulp. Dental pulp is composed of nerve tissue, lymph tissue and blood vessels, and is considered to be the vital part of a tooth. If dental pulp is sufficiently traumatized – whether by exposure to oral bacteria via deep dental caries, a fracture in the tooth that enters the pulp or a forceful blow to the face – the tooth begins to die and root canal therapy is often required in order to prevent or eliminate infection and prevent tooth loss.
A root canal procedure involves tooth disinfection and the removal of all debris (nerve tissue, lymph tissue, blood tissue, bacteria and infection) from the coronal pulp chamber and its associated canals. Once an affected tooth’s canals are sufficiently cleansed and shaped, they are filled with materials designed to prevent pain and infection from recurring.