Root canal treatment is needed when the tooth’s root becomes infected or inflamed through injury or advanced decay. The tooth is anesthetized. An opening is made through the crown of the tooth to the pulp chamber. Special files are used to clean the infection and unhealthy pulp out of the canals. Irrigation is used to help clean the main canal (called lateral canals). The canals are filled with a permanent material, often gutta-percha. This helps to keep the canals free of infection or contamination.
A temporary filling material is placed on top of the gutta-percha to seal the opening until the tooth is ready to be prepared for a crown. A crown, sometimes called a cap, is made to look like a natural tooth, and is placed on top. In some cases, a post is placed to give the crown extra support. Then crown is cemented into place.