About Your Tooth

Tooth illustrationYour tooth consists of two main parts: the crown, which is that part of the tooth above the gum and visible in your mouth; and the root or roots, which is that part of the tooth that lies beneath the gum and is surrounded by bone. Inside each root is a canal that runs the length of the tooth 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.

In order to preserve a tooth in which 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.

Tooth Pain Guide

Please select from the list below the title that best reflects your pain.

Momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods


Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment


Sharp pain when biting down on food


Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods


Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum, and sensitivity to touch


Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw


Chronic pain in head, neck, or ear