Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure in which the diseased or damaged pulp (central core) of a tooth is removed and the inside areas (the pulp chamber and root canals) are filled and sealed. An inflamed or infected pulp is called pulpitis. It is the most common cause of a toothache. To relieve the pain and prevent further complications, the tooth may be extracted (surgically removed) or saved by root canal treatment.
Endodontic treatment is necessary as 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. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain, or lead to an abscess.