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The term 'Root Canal' is an anatomical one, used to describe the tiny hollow within the tooth that extends from the tip of the root of the tooth to the center of the crown (the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum). This natural space inside the tooth is filled with the tooth's nerve network, soft connective tissue and the blood vessels that keep the tooth nourished and healthy.

Sometimes a tooth's internal soft tissue will become inflamed or infected. Since this tissue has many nerves in it, this inflammation or infection will cause pain, which can sometimes be very severe, especially if the infection becomes a full-blown abscess. The main things that will cause inflammation or infection inside a tooth's root canal are:

- Decay

- Trauma to the tooth- this can be in the form of an impact from an accident or sporting injury, or even as a result of repeated cavities and fillings over the years.

- A fracture or crack in the tooth

- A lost filling