After finding the root canals, we clean and shape them with a series of files. When healthy, each of these canals has a nerve and blood supply. If this blood supply dies, your body cannot fight an infection
that gets into these canals. So the reason we are doing the root canal is to seal off the canals from bacteria. To do this, I remove the nerve and tissue in the canals with a long, rotating mechanical file. Luckily in this example, when I remove the nerve from the tooth, it wraps around this file instead of getting torn to shreds. You can see that in the accompanying video to this article. Unwrapping the nerve is one of the few joys of being a dentist.
After removing the nerve, we use a series of mechanical and manual files to unclog and shape each canal nicely so we can fill them. This part takes a lot of skill as there are a lot of challenges. If you go too fast or hard, the instruments can break, which isn’t too bad if it seals off the canals adequately, but it can also be a problem that requires attention. Either way, taking it slow and avoiding broken files is best. Also, if a dentist is too aggressive, the files can make a hole in the side of the root called a perforation or leave the roots so weak that they break in the future. In addition, these canals can become blocked, and unclogging them is a big hassle. Lastly, you must ensure you file within 1 millimeter from the tip of each root, or the root can become re-infected.