A root canal is done to remove the infected nerve inside a tooth. A root canal is done if you have a large cavity extending into the nerve of the tooth, swelling around a tooth, spontaneous pain with a tooth after a filling, trauma to a tooth, lingering hot or cold sensitivity, etc.
Underneath the white part of your teeth is the soft tissue of a tooth, called the pulp. This pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that supply sensation and nutrients to the tooth. A root canal is very similar to a filling. Dr. Richards will numb the area with a local anesthetic, remove the pulp (soft tissue) of the tooth and any bacteria or debris, disinfect the inside of the tooth, fill the existing pulp area up and seal the area.
Depending on the symptoms, a root canal is typically finished in one or two appointments. A crown is sometimes recommended after the completion of a root canal to prevent the tooth from fracture.