Simply put, a root canal is the point in the tip of your tooth’s root where the nerve joins up to the center of your tooth, also known as the pulp. Each tooth has anywhere from one to four root canals.
When the pulp becomes infected, that’s when you feel pain. The infection can be caused by a deep cavity or fracture, and the pulp can die. The damage can cause an increase in blood flow and cellular activity, and the pressure cannot be relieved from inside the tooth. Pain is felt when biting down, or eating hot or cold things.
Without treatment, pain usually gets worse, and you may even lose the tooth. Though extracting the tooth seems like a cheaper, easier alternative, that can result in the rest of your teeth shifting to fill the space, causing a bad bite, headaches, broken teeth, and bridges. Instead, your dentist will recommend a root canal. A root canal is done to clean up the diseased portion of the pulp and rehabilitate the canal.