Root Canal Therapy
What is root canal therapy? And why would I need it?
When decay gets large enough that it spreads to the pulp (the inner chamber of the tooth containing the nerve and blood supply) it can lead to an infection. When the nerve gets infected it can result in an abscess. In order to resolve this infectious process, Dr. Homonnay needs to go through the top of your tooth into the center of the tooth so that he can clean out the nerve and disinfect the canal space.
Traumatic injury to a tooth can also damage the pulp; this is an indication for root canal therapy. The first indication that you may need to have a root canal is if you are having pain when biting, pain when eating hot, cold or sugar based foods. You may experience pain that comes and goes, this usually means the nerve is losing vitality. Also it is possible to have headaches caused by an infected tooth. Inflamed tissue causes pressure in the tooth that can lead to pain. Once the tooth is dead an abscess can form; it is vital to get in to see us as soon as possible. The longer the tooth stays infected the lower the prognosis of root canal therapy.
Why should I get a root canal?
-You stop the progression of infection that can lead to more serious issues
-Preserve your natural tooth, which prevents bone resorption
-The alternative option is getting your tooth taken out
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Front teeth usually only have one root, however molar teeth have multiple roots and within each root there can be 1-4 different canals that can hold nerve tissue. The goal of root canal therapy is to remove all of the infected and inflamed tissue and halt the disease process. This is completed with small files that progressively get larger in order to gain complete access to remove all the tissue. Following the disinfection process, each of the canals is filled with a dental sealer. The access hole is filled with a different core material. Sometimes a post is needed if there isn’t sufficient tooth structure remaining at the onset of the procedure.
Following the completion of root canal therapy it is vital that the patient come in to have a crown placed on the tooth. The reason a crown is needed is for two reasons: first teeth that have had a root canal are more brittle because it lacks a blood supply, therefore more susceptible to fracture. Secondly, the crown protects the tooth from bacteria entering back into the tooth and re-infecting it. A crown not only stabilizes the tooth but it protects it from most future infections.
You may experience some soreness for a couple days following your procedure. This is normal. We recommend chewing on the opposite side and sticking to a softer diet. After a few days you should be back to normal.
Root canal Therapy has a very high success rate, greater than 90% when a final crown restoration is placed on the tooth. Please call us at 615-377-6306 if you have any questions or are in pain and would like to be evaluated for root canal therapy.