The process of removing an infected, traumatized or dead nerve from a tooth, allows us to save the natural tooth and avoid problems due to tooth loss. Why would a tooth need a root canal? If the nerve is infected (abscessed) or damaged by deep decay, trauma, cracks or chips, repeated dental procedures, a root canal may be advised. Symptoms of an infected nerve may include pain, swelling of the gums, sensitivity to temperature or chewing. Root canals do not have to be feared! Your mouth is “frozen” similarly to having fillings done, and discomfort afterwards is usually minimal. Root canals can often be completed in one visit and the tooth should eventually be protected with a crown, as these teeth will become more brittle.