If the nerve within your tooth becomes infected or is traumatized, successful root canal treatment can keep you from losing the tooth by removing the “pulp” and any infected tissue, which can prevent discomfort and health complications.
Most often, a root canal is no more uncomfortable than having a cavity filled and often does not take much longer. It is the removal of infected or dead pulp (the inner nerves and blood vessels) from inside the tooth, followed by a procedure that cleans, fills and seals the resulting space.
On occasion, a vital/live tooth may require root canal treatment to prevent nerve damage during a planned restorative treatment. For example, if during the treatment planning process, we suspect a nerve will likely be exposed, we can plan to do a root canal prior to the restoration. This type of treatment is called pre-prosthetic endodontic treatment and works to limit preventable discomfort.
Root canal treatment is typically performed in one or two visits depending on the degree of infection within the pulp. Because root canal therapy removes the blood supply and nerve of the tooth, it leaves the tooth more brittle and at greater risk of fracture. For this reason, it is almost always advisable to protect your root canal treated tooth with a full coverage restoration, like a crown (cap).