Root canal treatment deals with disorders of the tooth nerve, or pulp. It used to be that a tooth with a diseased or infected nerve had to be removed. In virtually all cases today, we believe in saving the tooth. A root canal becomes necessary when the tooth pulp becomes irritated and infected. Bacteria grow within the pulp, causing pressure and pain which can be accompanied by swelling of the face. If left, the bacteria will eventually destroy the pulp and the bone surrounding the tooth may become infected and abscessed, leading to the destruction of the bone surrounding the tooth.
The root canal procedure involves removal of the diseased pulp, sterilization of the tooth interior and finally filling and sealing the tooth to restore chewing function.