Bacteria located at the apical part of infected root canals are arguably directly involved in the pathogenesis of apical periodontitis. This study was conducted to profile and further compare the bacterial communities established at the apical and middle/coronal segments of infected root canals. Extracted teeth with attached apical periodontitis lesions were sectioned so as to obtain two root fragments representing the apical third and the coronal two thirds. Root fragments were subjected to a cryogenic grinding approach. DNA was extracted from root powder samples and used as a template for bacterial community profiling using a 16S ribosomal RNA gene-based seminested polymerase chain reaction/denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis approach. The mean number of bands in apical samples from teeth with primary infections was 28, ranging from 18 to 48, whereas in the middle/coronal samples, it was also 28, ranging from 19 to 36. Findings showed that the profile of bacterial community colonizing the apical third of infected root canals is as diverse as that occurring at the middle/coronal thirds. A high variability was observed for both interindividual (samples from the same region but from different patients) and intraindividual (samples from different regions of the same tooth) comparisons. The methodology used to prepare and analyze samples was highly effective in disclosing a previously unanticipated broad diversity of endodontic bacterial communities, especially at the apical part of infected root canals. © 2009 American Association of Endodontists.