About Your Tooth

Tooth illustrationYour tooth consists of two main parts. The crown is the part of the tooth above the gum that is visible in your mouth. The root or roots lie beneath the gum and are surrounded by bone. Inside each root is a channel that runs the length of the tooth. This channel is the root canal and contains the pulp (nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue), often referred to as the “nerve” of the tooth. The pulp may be irreversibly damaged by bacteria associated with decay, very deep restorations, fractures, trauma, or periodontal disease.

In order to preserve a tooth damaged in one of these ways, it is necessary to remove the diseased pulp tissue. This procedure is known as endodontic therapy. Endodontic therapy is concerned with removing only the pulp from the root canal, so the root will continue to function normally as the supporting tissues remain intact. It is advisable to remove the injured pulp as it may become infected or act as an irritant to the tissues surrounding the tooth.