Inside each of your teeth is a soft bundle of nerves, blood vessels and tissue called the pulp. The pulp forms the life support system for your tooth and allows you to sense temperature and pressure while you are eating or drinking.
Sometimes a tooth can become cracked or broken and the pulp can be exposed to infection. If the pulp becomes infected, the infection can quickly spread to your gums and possibly result in gum disease or the loss of your tooth.
When the pulp is exposed or at risk, it needs to be removed to prevent the risk of infection and to save the tooth. A root canal is the name for this procedure. In a root canal, we drill into the tooth and extract the pulp, then we seal the tooth to prevent infection in the future.
Although root canals have a reputation for being painful, with modern anesthetic and techniques they are usually no more painful than getting a filling.