Deep within the tooth there is a structure called a pulp. It is often referred to as the nerve of the tooth; however, it also contains blood vessels and other soft tissue.
If the tooth sustains trauma either through a physical accident, repeated or deep decay, cracks, or prolonged broken down fillings – the nerve may become infected or degenerate. This may or may not cause discomfort, though leaving such a tooth untreated can result in abscess development and spreading of the infection.
Root canal therapy essentially involves removing the infected tissue, disinfecting the remaining tooth structure and then sealing the tooth to prevent the infection from returning. The treatment process usually involves two or more appointments. With the advancement of technology and techniques in dentistry, having root canal therapy is very similar to having a filling placed.