Each tooth has in its core a pulp space that contains the nerve and blood vessels required for tooth vitality. When pulp tissue is affected by tooth decay or fracture, the pulp becomes infected and inflammed and later degenerates and dies (necrosis). This process is very painful and can lead to swelling and infection spread to bone and soft tissue. Since, strictly speaking, the tooth does not need its pulp (nerve) for function, root canal therapy is recommended to save the tooth. The procedure is rather simple: the tooth is anesthetized and an access opening is cut into the tooth to access the infected pulp, which is then removed . The canal(s) is/are cleaned and shaped, then dried and filled with special root canal filling material. The access opening is then restored following the removal of any decay present. Medications such as antibiotics and pain killers may be prescribed if indicated.