When the root of your tooth becomes severely damaged due to a cavity, a root canal may be necessary. Such damage can cause the root to become infected or inflamed, causing you a great deal of pain and discomfort. A root canal consists of numbing the tooth and creating an opening through the crown of the tooth, down to the pulp chamber of the root. The infected and unhealthy pulp is removed and the chamber is filled with a permanent material to keep the canal free of infection. A temporary filling material is placed on top to seal the opening and then a crown is usually placed over the top of the tooth.
This procedure is generally used when the root is severely infected and inflamed, which means that with preventative care and checkups, you can avoid having such a procedure. X-rays can tell when these issues occur and they can be caught early.