Root canal therapy begins with first administering a local anesthetic to the involved tooth and the surrounding area. This ensures you are comfortable and pain free throughout the procedure. A rubber dam will then be placed around the tooth to be treated, in order to keep it free of bacteria from your saliva. Next, a hole will be created in the infected tooth so that the damaged pulp can be removed, and then the root canal system will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Finally, the canal will be filled with a special filling material in order to strengthen and protect it. A crown is highly recommended to prevent a future fracture or wear of the treated tooth. Following a root canal, the tooth continues to function just like any other tooth.