If you know what the anatomy of your tooth is like, you may be better able to understand how root canal therapy works.
Gum tissue and bone hold the tooth in place, fitting snugly around the tooth’s roots and “neck.” The crown of the tooth is the part that is visible above the gum line.
The crown’s outer part is called the enamel. The enamel is the hard surface that comes in contact with food and other teeth. The next layer inward is known as dentin. Within that layer lies the pulp, which is the soft inner part of the tooth made up of blood vessels and nerve material.
The roots anchor the tooth in the bone. The nerve material occupies the tooth’s chamber and the inside of the roots and extends beyond the tips of the roots into the bone. This nerve material is what transfers sensory information from the tooth to the bone of the jaw.
During a root canal, the infected pulp and nerve material is removed from the inside of the tooth. The resulting cavity is meticulously cleaned and disinfected, and then the cavity is filled with a rubber like dental material. The tooth is then finished with a crown or other restoration method.