Root Canal treatment may be needed for a variety of reasons, with the more common ones being due to extensive tooth decay, infection/abscess, fracture or trauma. It is a treatment option to save a tooth so you may still eat/function with that tooth.
Once proper anesthesia is achieved, a small hole is accessed through the tooth to reach the ‘pulp’ (blood vessels, nerves). If present, decay is removed from the tooth. Then, the pulp is cleaned thoroughly with small instruments and files. Afterwards, a rubber-like material is used to fill in the root canal system. Finally, the hole will be filled in with restorative material, such as composite.
On many occasions, a crown is recommended after a root canal is done, especially on back teeth (pre-molars and molars). The tooth is no longer receiving nutrients and is at risk for fracture. A proper restoration is highly recommended to provide a good seal and decrease the risk of re-infection. A crown offers both increased overall strength and a great seal. When a tooth is deemed non-restorable, it is not able to be saved even with Root Canal treatment. In this case, removal (extraction) of the tooth may be the only treatment left, and a bridge, implant or denture may be needed to replace the tooth.