A root canal treatment is done to save a tooth when an infection or injury does irreversible damage to the pulp of the tooth. If the pulp is inflamed, but not infected, there is a chance it may heal and return to normal. But if the pulp has become infected or damaged beyond the point of self-repair, a root canal becomes unavoidable.
In many cases, a tooth that needs a root canal will be quite painful. In some instances, though, the patient may not experience any pain at all. That is why it is so important to regularly visit a dentist, as they will be able to pick up on pulp damage that you may not be able to pick up on your own.
In order to be absolutely sure that there is no saving the tooth without a root canal, the dentist will likely take an X-ray of the tooth in question. This will help the dentist to understand the true extent of the damage. If a root canal is needed, you will first receive local anesthetic. The dentist will then use a dental dam to isolate your tooth from moisture. The decay will then be removed from the tooth, and an access hole will be placed through the crown of the tooth. Next, the dentist will use special instruments to remove the infected or dead pulp.
Once the pulp is removed, the dentist will flush and clean the root canals. If there is an infection present, antibiotics will be administered at this point. The root canals will then be filled with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha and topped off with a dental filling. A crown will then be used to restore the tooth, providing the weakened tooth with enough strength to survive for years to come.