The word ‘endodontics’ comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘inside the tooth’. As this suggests, endodontics is concerned with the health of the inner part of the tooth, primarily in the root canals where many tiny blood vessels and nerves are stored.
Problems arise when the soft pulp in the canals becomes infected, which can be caused by bacteria entering through a crack in the tooth or even following tooth trauma after an accident. When this happens, a root canal procedure is necessary in order to preserve the natural tooth. Failure to treat a tooth infected in this manner will almost certainly result in the need for an extraction, quite possibly following severe toothache.