A root canal is a procedure meant to save a damaged tooth that has become badly infected or decayed. During a root canal, a root canal specialist will remove the nerve and some pulp material. The inside of the affected tooth is cleaned out and sealed. Teeth that are in need of this procedure can develop serious infections and may form an abscess. Because the nerve inside a tooth is not vital to the function of the tooth, but only provides sensory information about the tooth, it is considered expendable when the removal of rotting tissues becomes necessary.