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What exactly is a root canal? First, let’s look at the anatomy of a tooth: On the outside lies the white enamel and hard layer (dentin) of the tooth. Beneath the enamel and dentin is soft pulp containing tissues, nerves and blood vessels. If this pulp becomes infected or inflamed, which could be due to deep trauma, decay or even a chipped tooth, a dentist may need to perform a root canal.


In a root canal, the dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp and fills the tooth with a rubber-like material. The tooth is then protected by a filling or with a crown that covers the tooth. All teeth are different and it requires expertise to reach and clean out the exact point at the end of root without damaging the tooth. The further back in the mouth the tooth is located, the more complicated the procedure. The equipment and materials used to perform root canals are intricate and highly specialized.


A dentist will take every measure to save a tooth, and most teeth that undergo a root canal can last a lifetime, particularly if covered and protected by a crown and cared for with good oral hygiene both at home and through regular dental visits. Patients can enjoy eating normally, having their bites remain in tact, and will maintain their natural smiles.