About Your Tooth

Your tooth consists of two main components: the crown, which is that part of the tooth above the gums and visible in your mouth; and the root or roots, which is that part of the tooth that generally exists beneath the gum line and is surrounded by periodontal supporting tissues and bone. Inside each root is a channel that extends the length of the tooth. This channel is the “canal” of the root and contains the dental “pulp” (nerves, blood vessels, and soft connective tissues), which is often referred to as the “nerve” of the tooth. The “pulp” may be irreversibly damaged by bacteria associated with decay (cavities), very deep restorations, fractures, trauma, or periodontal disease.

In order to preserve a tooth in which such damage has occurred, it may become necessary to remove the diseased pulp tissue. This procedure is known as endodontic therapy. The intention of endodontic therapy is to only remove the “pulp” from within the root “canal.” The root and tooth itself will continue to function normally because the supporting tissues remain intact. Dr. Angell may recommend removal of the injured pulp because the pulp tissue has become infected or is acting as an irritant to the surrounding periodontal supporting structures.