Knowing about the anatomy of your teeth helps your understanding why you need endodontic treatment. Your tooth essentially has 3 layers: the outer layer, known as the enamel; the inner dentin, and the centermost layer, known as the pulp. The outermost layer, the enamel, serves to insulate the tooth, and is lacking a nerve connection. The 2nd layer, or dentin, does have a nerve supply and is a sensitive structure within the tooth. The innermost layer, the pulp, carries the blood vessels, nerves, and the connective tissue of the tooth and is central in tooth development by creating hard tissue surrounding the tooth. Furthermore, the pulp is contained within the canal system of the tooth that composes the pulp chamber in both in the crown and in the root canals, connecting through the apex, or tip of the roots.
If the pulp becomes infected or swollen, endodontic treatment is necessary. Swelling or infection of the pulp may be caused by various conditions such as repeated dental procedures performed on the tooth, deep decay, or a chip or crack or other trauma on the tooth. Left untreated, infection or swelling can cause tenderness or cause an abscess to develop.
Symptoms of damage to the pulp might include throbbing pain, ongoing sensitivity to cold or heat, discoloring of the tooth, or inflammation or tenderness in the adjacent gums. Additionally, there may, in fact, be no symptoms at all.