Non-surgical endodontics used to be called a "root canal" until the American Association of Endodontists redesignated it "Non-surgical Endodontic Therapy." It is the same thing, same basic process, same materials. Instrumentation, irrigation and filling techniques have changed enough to have alleviated a lot of the "experiences" folks used to have with "root canal" treatment so the specialty decided to give the procedure a new name.
During endodontic treatment, a local anesthetic will be given. A sheet of latex called the "rubber dam" (we have non-latex ones too) will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, hence keeping it clean and dry during treatment. The treatment consists of three or four basic steps, but the number of visits will depend on your particular case. Some treatments take 2 visits but many are just a single visit. Occasionally 3 appointments are needed. In any case, it depends on the degree of infection/inflammation and degree of treatment difficulty.