Root canals are the unfortunate result of bacteria that have entered the nerve and vascular supply of the tooth. If left untreated that invasion can continue into the bone around the tooth. At this point we call it an “abscess” which can grow to be a very serious health risk and in rare cases can be life threatening. A root canal is a treatment to remove the bacteria and all of the dead and infected remains of the tooth. Modern dentistry has taken a conservative approach to this as well. Access into the tooth is as small as necessary to clean the tooth. The infected tooth structure and bacteria are removed by using a series of tools that clean the canals of the tooth. Once completed, a medicine is placed into the canals and allowed to remain there for 2-3 weeks while the tooth and bone heal. Finally, the once infected canals are filled and sealed to prevent further spread of infection and loss of tooth structure.