When a tooth becomes diseased or is dying, a root canal is performed to save the tooth from extraction. More specially, it is performed when the inner tissue of a tooth (called the pulp) becomes infected or exposed. This happens when the hard outer shell of the tooth (called the enamel) has failed, and the interior pulp has become compromised. The most common reasons for the pulp of a tooth to become compromised are a fracture or crack in the tooth, an injury to the tooth, or a deep cavity. If the injury or infection is left untreated, severe pain can result, leading to a dental abscess, infection, and the possible loss of the tooth. Since teeth cannot heal themselves after trauma or disease has occurred to the nerve, root canal therapy is a vital dental treatment that can save your teeth.