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The root canal is actually a channel that runs from the root of the tooth, which connects to the bone, up to the top surface of the tooth. The canal contains blood vessels, nerves, and the complex cells that make up the living tissue inside the tooth. This lifeline inside the tooth is called the pulp. When a tooth is decayed or cracked, bacteria can get to the pulp. The acid from the bacteria irritates the pulp and it becomes inflamed; it’s the same process you see when other parts of your body become infected. When the pulp tissue becomes inflamed, it’s harder for the blood to flow to the tissue and the resulting pressure creates pain inside your mouth.
A root canal procedure limits the infection and keeps it from destroying the tooth. During the root canal treatment procedure, the dentist removes the inflamed or infected tissue, carefully cleans, disinfects, and shapes the root canal space inside the tooth and then fills and seals the space. It may take one or more appointments to complete the procedure. A protective restoration should be placed after the root canal treatment has been completed in order to restore the tooth function and help prevent tooth fracture.