When a patient has a tooth that is hurting them VERY bad, it is often due to tooth decay going into the tooth’s nerve. People say tooth pain is the worst pain. I have even heard people say it is worse than having a baby.
This patient had a cavity in their lower molar. Someone had tried to put a temporary filling in there but as you can see in the xray image on the left, it only covered the top part while the cavity was deep within the tooth.
A root canal was done on this tooth to save the tooth and to get the patient out of pain. A root canal is when the decay is removed, then the nerve of the tooth is removed using dental files (see middle photo). Then the nerve is replaced with a rubber material called gutta percha (see photo on right). A root canal is a good way to save a tooth but the best way for healthy teeth is to prevent getting a root canal in the first place. Once the root canal is completed it can sometimes be filled but usually it will require a crown if you want to be able to chew on hard things with it. (Photos of actual patient of Peter Mani DDS used with consent and permission of patient).