A root canal is the anatomic space within the root of a tooth. Part of a naturally occurring space within a tooth, it consists of the pulp chamber (within the coronal part of the tooth), the main canal(s), and more intricate anatomical branches that may connect the root canals to each other or to the surface of the root.
Endodontic therapy or root canal therapy is a sequence of treatment for the infected pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. Root canals and their associated pulp chamber are the physical hollows within a tooth that are naturally inhabited by nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities which together constitute the dental pulp. Endodontic therapy involves the removal of these structures, the subsequent shaping, cleaning, and decontamination of the hollows with small files and irrigating solutions, and the obturation (filling) of the decontaminated canals with an inert filling such as gutta-percha and typically a eugenol-based cement. Epoxy resin is employed to bind gutta-percha in some root canal procedures. Endodontics includes both primary and secondary endodontic treatments as well as periradicular surgery, as applied to teeth that still have potential for salvage.