There are very few dental procedures that inspire as much fear as a root canal. A root canal is a procedure that removes dead or dying tissue and bacteria from the inside of a tooth. This happens when the pulp of the tooth becomes infected following an injury or severe untreated cavity.
The root canal procedure itself is somewhat complicated, but it's routine enough that most dentists perform them frequently. To do this, a dentist or endodontist must first numb the tooth. Then, they must drill into the tooth and, using a small tool, remove the infected tooth pulp. The remaining structure of the tooth is then irrigated and treated with an antimicrobial treatment. The tooth is then dried and filled with a substance called gutta percha. The dentist may next place a temporary crown on the tooth, to be replaced by a permanent crown within several weeks.