Root canal (endodontic) treatment is necessary when the pulp (soft tissue inside your teeth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or diseased.
Some causes of an infected pulp could include: a deep cavity, repeated dental procedures, a cracked or broken tooth, or injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip). Many times a tooth that requires a root canal is one that has a large filling or else has large portions of tooth structure missing due to extensive decay.
The purpose of doing a root canal is to create an end result where the tissues that surround the tooth’s root will maintain a healthy status despite the fact that the tooth’s nerve has undergone degenerative changes.
During root canal treatment, your dentist will remove the diseased pulp. If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result, and your tooth may have to be removed. While removing the infected pulp, the dentist will also remove as thoroughly as possible any bacteria, nerve tissue, any debris left over from the breakdown of nerve tissue, and bacterial toxins from within the interior aspect of a tooth(the area where the tooth’s nerve was). Once this area has been cleansed, the nerve chamber of the tooth is filled with a plastic material, and the apex of the tooth is sealed. The majority of people who have undergone root canal therapy typically report that the process itself is no more involved than having a filling done. It is common that a tooth that has had a root canal treatment will be restored either with a crown or with a crown and a post.
After a root canal is performed, you are left with an environment where the body’s mechanisms are able to clear away any residual bacteria and tissue irritants that may still be present, thus allowing complete healing.