More commonly referred to as root canal therapy, endodontic therapy is performed to save a tooth in which the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth have been irreversibly damaged.  The tissue of nerves and blood vessels is called the pulp.  Endodontic therapy removes the damaged tissue and leaves the rest of the tooth intact.  The pulp tissue may have been damaged by the bacteria associated with tooth decay, very deep fillings, fractures, trauma, or periodontal disease.  Usually, the only alternative to endodontic therapy is to have the affected tooth removed.

Typically a small opening is made in the biting surface of the tooth.  The small canals of the tooth are cleaned to remove the damaged tissue and then filled with a substance called gutta percha to seal them.  The small opening in the biting surface of the tooth is then filled with a temporary filling material.  After the root canal is completed, it is essential to finish restoring your tooth with a new permanent filling or crown.

Most people have a negative view of root canal therapy, but many patients feel that the root canal procedure is much like having a cavity filled.  The endodontist will do everything possible to make your visit as painless and pleasant as possible.