In the past, a tooth with a diseased or infected nerve had to be removed. Nowdays, in 95% of cases, root canal treatment can treat disorders of the nerve/pulp of the tooth resulting in saving the tooth and keeping your natural teeth for a lifetime. Factors such as trauma(physical blow to a tooth or constant striking to a tooth from the opposing jaw), physical irritation(caused by a very large filling or deep decay) or a cracked/fractured tooth can contribute to a need for root canal treatment.
In a compromised tooth, the tooth pulp becomes irritated and infected. Bacteria grows within the tooth pulp and canals causing pressure and pain and sometimes swelling of the face. As this happens, the bone surrounding the tooth may become infected and abscessed leading to destruction of bone around the tooth.
During root canal therapy the infected pulp/nerve of the tooth is removed. The canals of the tooth are cleaned, enlarged and shaped. The inside of the tooth is sterilized and the canals are permanently filled and sealed. After root canal therapy, a crown is usually needed because teeth become brittle and more susceptible to fracture.