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A root canal is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection or sometimes trauma. A root canal is the treatment of choice to save a tooth which otherwise would need to be removed. Some signs and symptoms that a tooth may need a root canal are an abscess, sensitivity to hot and cold, a tooth ache or swelling and tenderness.

In order to save the tooth, the tooth is anesthetized and an access opening is made on top of the tooth. The interior of the tooth is cleaned, debrided and sterilized. Then the canals are sealed to prevent bacteria from gaining access.

Most teeth that have had a root canal will then require placement of a protective crown to strengthen the tooth and restore it to full function. Many times root canals can be started and finished in one visit with no discomfort.