Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment. A root canal is necessary when the pulp, which is the soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue inside of your tooth, becomes inflamed or infected from cavities, injury to the tooth, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or cracks in the tooth, etc. If the inflamed or infected pulp is left untreated, it can lead to pain and/or formation of an abscess.
During root canal treatment, a small opening on the chewing surface of your tooth is created to gain access to the pulp inside of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to remove dead and dying tissue and to clean the pulp from the inside, allowing the root canals to be cleaned and disinfected.
The canals are specially shaped and prepared so that they can be sealed with biocompatible filling materials. They are coated with an adhesive cement to ensure that they are completely sealed to prevent future infection.
Afterwards, the tooth must be restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.