Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is necessary when your tooth abscesses, or the pulp ( nerve) in your tooth has become inflamed. Treatment may also be needed when deep restorations or trauma to a tooth cause nerve damage.
Symptoms that indicate the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. However, sometimes no symptoms are apparent and you may be unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Alternate treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal is filled in to prevent any further infection. Depending on the situation, crown is often recommended for restoring a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy.