A root canal procedure involves removing infected pulp in the tooth, according to the American Association of Endodontists. After the pulp is removed, the endodontist cleans and disinfects the root canals or pulp chambers in the tooth.
The endodontist then fills the chambers with a rubbery material called gutta percha, says the American Association of Endodontists. After the surgical site heals, the dentist may place a crown or a filling over the tooth to protect it and allow it to function normally.
Before the surgery, the endodontist X-rays and examines the tooth, according to the American Association of Endodontists. During the surgery, the patient receives a local anesthetic so that she remains comfortable. When the tooth is numbed, the endodontist places a dental dam over it to isolate it. He then makes an opening in the crown of the tooth, and the surgery continues.
After the gutta percha is inserted, the endodontist may also place a temporary filling on the tooth, claims the American Association of Endodontists. This protects the tooth while a crown is being created. If the infection has spread to the point where much of the tooth structure has been destroyed, the dentist may implant a post to hold the crown.