Enterococcus faecalis is a micro-organism that can survive extreme challenges. Its pathogenicity ranges from life-threatening diseases in compromised individuals to less severe conditions, such as infection of obturated root canals with chronic apical periodontitis. In the latter situation, the infecting organisms are partly shielded from the defense mechanisms of the body. In this article, we review the virulence factors of E. faecalis that may be related to endodontic infection and the periradicular inflammatory response. The most-cited virulence factors are aggregation substance, surface adhesins, sex pheromones, lipoteichoic acid, extracellular superoxide production, the lytic enzymes gelatinase and hyaluronidase, and the toxin cytolysin. Each of them may be associated with various stages of an endodontic infection as well as with periapical inflammation. While some products of the bacterium may be directly linked to damage of the periradicular tissues, a large part of the tissue damage is probably mediated by the host response to the bacterium and its products.