What is a Root Canal? I’ve heard they’re terrible!

Ah, the big, bad buzzword that all the comedians and TV shows jump on to scare the heck out of all of us. People immediately cringe, picturing Black and Decker variable speed hand drills, and tell us horror stories of people they know that have had one.
In reality, Root Canal Therapy, as we call it, is one of the most frequent, common, and valuable procedures we perform. The dental term is Endodontic Therapy. In cases where it is indicated, it allows the patient to keep the tooth for years, and possibly the rest of their lives, instead of having that tooth removed.
I use the example of car ownership. 100 people buy a new car model, like an Impala or a Taurus. 96 people get a good car, 4 people get a lemon. Who do you hear from? That’s right, the four who got the lemons. That means there are 96 people out there that are happy. The same is true with Root Canal Treatments. And three out of that four waited too long to get the treatment done after the dentist suggested it, resulting in more difficult treatment.
Each tooth has one, two, or three roots. Each root has canals, or “tubes”, in it that contain the living nerves, blood vessels, and fibers of the tooth. When that tissue, called the pulp, is damaged or irritated, it stimulates your immune system to try to eliminate the problem. We can remove that tissue, disinfect the tooth, and seal the root, to allow the immune system to say, “Hey, we can keep this tooth in your mouth.” So we do Therapy on the Canal inside the Root – Root Canal Therapy.
Pretty easy to understand, and not so scary once you know what it is!