A root canal is also known as endodontics. To understand a root canal treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. A root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, a blow to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess. Signs of pulp damage include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. Sometimes, there are no symptoms. During a root canal or endodontics treatment, your dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards they will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. Endodontics procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques such as NiTi rotary instruments and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during and after the procedure.