Under the tooth enamel, inside the hard layer of the dentin, there is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp helps the root of your tooth to grow when your teeth are still developing. It contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. When your teeth are fully developed, it can survive without the pulp, because the tooth continues to receive nourishments from the tissue surrounding it.
When damage occurs to a tooth and becomes infected, the infection destroys the pulp. If left untreated, the damaged pulp can spread the infection to the bone around the tooth, causing swelling and moderate to severe pain. Many patients wait until the pain becomes unbearable, before seeking dental assistance. This is when endodontic treatment (often referred to as Root Canal Therapy) is performed to save the tooth.
Endodontic treatment involves the opening of the tooth through tiny canals, removing the damaged pulp, cleaning, shaping, filling and sealing the tooth.