A root canal procedure is needed when the decay has reached the pulp, or center, of a tooth. If you experience symptoms such as sensitivity to both hot and cold drinks, pain on chewing, facial swelling, or pain that wakes you up at night, you might need a root canal. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels so if bacteria, food, and air are in contact with the pulp, prepare yourself for some terrible pain.
In a root canal procedure, the tooth is opened and the nerve, along with other contents of the pulp, is removed. The canal of the roots are cleaned of all bacteria and filled with a rubber material to prevent any future bacteria from entering. Teeth that have been treated with root canals will likely need a crown following treatment to ensure long term success.