In certain situations, the nerve of the tooth starts dying or getting infected. This may or may not lead to pain depending on the onset of infection.
The causes which can lead to a dead nerve can be:

  1. Decay reaching the nerve
  2. Deep fillings
  3. Fractured or cracked teeth
  4. Mechanical or thermal trauma to the tooth

In such cases root canal treatment is indicated to save the tooth. It basically involves removing the infected nerve from the tooth, disinfecting the canals and filling it with an inert material.

Root canal treatment is done in 3 stages:

  1. Stage 1 : involves removal of the dead nerve and the gross infection. An antibiotic medicament is left in the canal to help reduce the bacteria. The symptoms usually subside after this. However it is important to continue with the treatment lest the infection recur.
  2. Stage 2: this involves further cleaning and shaping of the canals. Certain medicaments are used to flush out the debris and create a sterile environment to receive the inert filling.
  3. Stage 3: this is the last stage in completion of treatment which involves filling the canals with an inert filling material. A permanent filling is done to restore the tooth and then it is ready to receive a crown.