When the pulp gets infected/inflamed it manifests mainly as severe toothache however, on occasions the symptoms can be milder. There are several reasons the pulp can get infected/inflamed incl. dental decay and trauma. Root canal treatment removes the nerve of the tooth and any bacteria that is enclosed in the root canal system. The canals are then sealed by a special dental material to prevent further infection
Root canal treatment is most of the time painless as local anaesthetic is used. After treatment the tooth may be painful for a couple of days until the surrounding inflamed tissues settle down.
Ideally following root canal treatment a crown is required to prevent fracture of the tooth. 50% of root treated teeth fracture in the first 5 years after treatment.
Root canal treatments are not 100% successful, however the only alternative to a root canal treatment is to extract (remove) the tooth from the mouth.
Sometimes the complex nature of the root canal system may require you to see a specialist endodontist to carry out the root canal treatment.