To understand how a root canal treatment works, we need to have a basic understanding of the anatomy of the tooth. A tooth is hollow, like our bones, and is composed of several layers.
The outermost layer (above the gum-line) is called the enamel. Enamel is the hardest and most mineralized substance in the body.
Under the enamel is the middle layer called dentin. The dentin is about as hard as bone. Beneath the dentin is the innermost layer called the dental pulp. The dental pulp is the soft inner mass of the tooth. The dental pulp is housed in a canal called root canal.
The pulp is needed to nourish the tooth during its growth and development. After a tooth is fully mature, the function of the pulp is to let us know if it is damaged or infected by transmitting pain.
In a healthy tooth, the pulp is well protected by the outer hard layers of enamel and dentin. But if the pulp becomes infected due to various reasons, it becomes necessary to remove the infected pulp, clean out the root canals and fill that space with a sterile material to prevent further infection. This procedure is called Endodontic therapy or popularly known as root canal treatment.