When your general dentist refers you to an endodontist for root canal therapy, it can feel overwhelming to get to know a new dental office and team. Learning some of the lingo used around the office is something you can do to feel better-acquainted with your new endodontist. Not sure where to start? Consider this your crash course to Endodontics 101. Read on to get the scoop on the endodontic terms you might hear at your next appointment with your endodontist here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado.


Endodontics is the branch of dentistry dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of the interior of the tooth. “Endodontics” is a term derived from two Greek words: “Endo” means inside, whereas “odons” means tooth. When combined, these words describe the study of the tooth’s inner part, also known as the dental pulp.


An endodontist is a highly-trained dental specialist that focuses on caring for complex tooth problems that primarily affect the tooth pulp inside of teeth. While dentists receive four years of education and training, endodontists complete an additional two or more years of advanced training.

While most dentists can perform root canal therapy, endodontists have more extensive training. They use advanced techniques to treat the dental pulp and root tissues. Our team of endodontists at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado focus on relieving your toothache, while saving your natural tooth, whenever possible.

Root Canal

A root canal is the most commonly performed endodontic treatment procedure. Every tooth has a root canal space, but not every tooth needs a root canal treatment. In the center of your tooth is dental pulp — a collection of blood vessels, nerves, and tissue that help build the outer elements of your tooth. Dental injuries, tooth decay, faulty crowns, or cracked or chipped teeth, puffy gums (gingivitis), gum infection (gum disease) or repeated dental procedures can cause inflammation and infections in your tooth.

Endodontic treatment removes the infected or inflamed tissue from inside the tooth. Following careful cleaning and disinfection, we then fill and seal the space internally. After root canal treatment, we restore the tooth with a filling or crown for protection, allowing it to function again like any other tooth. With routine check-ups and care, most endodontically treated teeth can last a lifetime.

Dental Pulp

Each tooth has a dental pulp, which is the living part of the tooth for both adult teeth and baby teeth. The pulp of the tooth contains the blood supply and nerve endings for the tooth, providing sensory function and producing dentin.


Dentin is the middle layer of the tooth that surrounds the pulp, helping to form the pulp chamber and root canal. Dentin is responsible for forming most of the crown and root of the tooth, and it gives the tooth its distinctive shape.


Enamel is the hard protective outer layer of the tooth. Believe it or not, enamel is the hardest substance in the body, making it suitable for the high-pressure tasks of cutting and chewing food.


The crown is the part of a tooth covered by enamel — visible above a healthy gum line.


The dense fibrous tissue and mucous membrane that covers the necks and roots of teeth and the jaw bone is known as gingiva — also referred to as gum tissue.


When the pulp of an adult tooth becomes infected, the course of treatment consists of root canal therapy. However, if a child’s baby tooth is infected, a pulpectomy is the preferred choice for saving the tooth. A pulpectomy involves removing the entire pulp from a primary tooth in an attempt to relieve pain associated with an infection and to prevent a complete extraction of the tooth.


A tooth abscess is the inflammatory reaction to pulpitis and necrosis characterized by pus formation, swelling, extreme sensitivity, pain, and rapid onset. Severe abscesses may require antibiotics, root canal therapy, or the removal of the affected tooth.

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When you need endodontic treatment, call a team of specialists you can trust. Our team here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado will be happy to talk through any concerns you have regarding your treatment and help you on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile. Or we can help you learn even more endodontic terms.

Contact us today to schedule your evaluation at our Colorado Springs or Pueblo locations. Thanks for reading our short list of the top endodontic terms to know!