Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Any diseased or injured teeth can often be saved through root canal (endodontic) treatment that deals with treating diseases or injuries to the dental pulp. What happens if the dental pulp is injured? The pulp is soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, treatment is needed. The most common causes of pulp inflammation or infection are a cracked or chipped tooth, a deep cavity or filling, or other serious injuries to the tooth. All of these can allow bacteria to enter the pulp. Why should the pulp be removed? If the damaged or infected pulp is not removed, the tissues around the root of the tooth can become infected. Pain and swelling often result. Even if there is no pain, bacteria can damage the bone that holds the tooth in the jaw. Without treatment, the tooth may have to be removed. Root canal treatment can prevent these problems by saving your natural tooth. Getting a root canal is relatively painless and extremely effective. You’ll be back to smiling, biting and chewing with ease in no time. When properly restored, a tooth with a root canal filling can last for many years. But, like any other tooth, it can become decayed or fractured or the tissue around it can get gum disease. Daily cleanings and regular dental exams will help keep your mouth healthy, whether you’ve had root canal treatment or not.