A root canal involves removing infected or damaged tissue (called pulp). To do this, your dentist will use a small drill to make a hole in your tooth, remove the infected tissue, and then disinfect and shape the void (canal) that remains. Once the canal has been cleaned and shaped your dentist will fill it with a natural, rubber-like material called gutta-percha, sealing the canal and keeping it free of bacteria. The tooth is then sealed, either temporarily or permanently, with a crown.
If your dentist fits you with a temporary crown, you must return for your follow up visit and receive your permanent crown. Temporary crowns are not designed to withstand long term wear and tear, and a damaged crown leaves your tooth vulnerable to reinfection.