Root canal therapy is needed when the pulp tissue (nerve, vascular, lymph tissue) of a tooth is affected by decay, infection, or trauma. In order to save the tooth, the pulp, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Depending on the tooth, it can typically have one to four canals. Rarely, there can be more. The number of canals in the tooth and curvature determines how long the procedure will take.
Having a root canal preformed on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that is problematic is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for the adjacent teeth.