Although "root canals" have a bad reputation, we have been able to save many teeth for our patients with root canal therapy. When a tooth has abscessed or developed a persistent toothache, an opening is made in the top of the tooth to reach the soft tissues (pulp) inside the tooth. The pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned out and sealed off so bacteria cannot live there. A crown is then usually placed on the tooth to protect against further breakdown. In some cases when the canal system is complex or has calcified, we will refer you to an endodontist, a root canal specialist, so that you have the best chance of a successful outcome.