Endodontics is the branch of dentistry concerning dental pulp and tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. Endodontics is also commonly referred to as a root canal treatment. A root canal treatment is done to save a tooth that is infected and causing pain and would otherwise need to be extracted. An extraction is more costly in the long run and may cause complications with adjacent teeth.
A root canal is often done by an endodontist, a dental specialist, but many general dentists also complete this procedure.
A root canal or endodontic therapy is often needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or an infection. The dental pulp (the living tissue inside the infected tooth) and any decay are removed and treated with disinfectant to help save the tooth. Once removed, the resulting hole in the tooth is filled and sealed to restore the tooth to its full function. A crown may be required to complete the restoration.