When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, root canal treatment is necessary. There are many causes for the inflammation or infection: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Left untreated, the inflammation or infection can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
During the procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. A crown or filling is then added for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.