The words “root canal” may sound scary, but it really doesn’t need to. The more informed you become, the less scary they are. Did you know the phrase “root canal” actually has two meanings? First, it refers to the hollow space within the root of the tooth that’s filled with soft tissue and nerves (also called pulp). Second, it’s a very common and relatively simple procedure for removing inflamed or infected pulp from a tooth before the infection spreads and the tooth starts to decay.