A root canal is the most commonly performed endodontic procedure. It involves treating problems within the tooth’s soft core, also known as the dental pulp. The dental pulp is the soft tissue found inside the tooth; it extends from the top of the tooth all the way down to the end of the root. It contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that provide nutrients to the tooth as it grows.
As a tooth grows, the pulp provides nourishment and helps the tooth develop properly. Once the tooth is fully functioning, its nerve is not vital to the tooth’s ability to function, or to providing it with sensory functions such as detecting the sensation of hot or cold. As a result, the nerve and surrounding tissue can be removed from the tooth to repair and save the tooth from an infected pulp. The mature tooth will be able to survive without the pulp.