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Your tooth consists of two main parts: the crown, which is the area of the tooth above the gum and visible in your mouth; and the root or roots, the area of the tooth that lies beneath the gum and is 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), which is 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.
To preserve a tooth when this has occurred it is necessary to remove the diseased pulp tissue. This procedure is known as endodontic therapy. Since endodontic therapy is concerned with removing only the pulp from the root canal, the root will continue to function normally because the supporting tissues remain intact. It is advisable to remove the injured pulp because it may become infected or act as an irritant to the tissues surrounding the tooth.
Root canal treatment is a procedure that removes exposed or infected nerves from the root of the tooth and then the canal is cleaned and widened with the help of instruments and then sealed with a sterile material. The tooth after the root canal treatment will remain non-vital, but acts as a functioning tooth.