Trauma, deep decay or cracks can affect the living part of the tooth without necessarily causing pain. The innermost part of the tooth, known as the “pulp,” contains the blood vessels and nerves that nourish the tooth. If the pulp is affected, damaged, irritated or infected, a root canal may be required to save the tooth.
The procedure consists of devitalizing the tooth by removing the damaged pulp. Once emptied and cleaned, the tooth is filled with a rubber-like material. This treatment lets you keep the tooth even though it is no longer alive.
All the same, teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment are not immune to decay. What’s more, since they are no longer alive, these teeth are more vulnerable to fracture. Because of this, your dentist may recommend protecting the tooth with a crown.
Thus protected, the tooth can last a lifetime if given the proper care.