Root Canal vs Filling: What’s the Difference and Which Do You Need?

Do you have a toothache? If your tooth has been painful or sensitive, or if you have inflamed gums, you might have a cavity.

Cavities are common, and most of the time, they’re no big deal. They’re the result of tooth decay. Dentists see them every day and treatment is quick and simple.

That said, there are two common forms of treatment for cavities. Your dentist will choose between a root canal vs a filling.

Root canals sound scary, but you don’t have to worry. Your dentist will make the right choice for you. Keep reading to learn all about the difference between root canal vs filling.

What Is a Root Canal?

When you have a cavity, you might need a root canal.

A root canal is when the dentist needs to remove the infected or inflamed pulp from inside the tooth. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels, so these cavities are often painful.

Before a root canal, the doctor will numb your mouth with a local anesthetic and offer sedation if you need it. After this, they’ll use special tools to drill into your tooth and remove infected material.

They’ll fill the tooth to help maintain its structural integrity and place a cap to protect it.

When Do You Need a Root Canal?

When you have a cavity that’s too serious for a standard filling, your dentist will recommend a root canal. If you have severe tooth pain that’s causing swelling or an inability to eat or drink, it’s a sign that you need a root canal.

Dentists understand that many people are afraid of root canals, so it’s not the first option. You can rest assured that if they recommend a root canal, it’s the best choice for your oral health.

What Is a Filling?

A dental filling is a simple procedure for mild to moderate cavities. Filling a cavity is a quick procedure and some dentists may fill several at once.

Dental fillings aren’t that different from root canals. The decay is less serious and doesn’t reach the pulp of the tooth, making the problem easier to fix. The dentist will still numb your mouth and clean out decay before replacing it with either metal or dental composite.

When Do You Need a Filling?

If you have a minor cavity, your dentist will suggest a filling.

Minor cavities sometimes cause pain, but not always. You may have sensitivity, gum redness, or no obvious symptoms at all. This is one of the reasons that you should have regular dental checkups instead of only going to the dentist when you notice a problem.

Root Canal vs Filling: Which Do You Need?

You won’t get to make the decision between a root canal vs filling, but it’s helpful to know what you can expect when you get to the dentist’s office.

Remember, while these things might seem scary, they’re both important when it comes to maintaining your oral health and protecting the integrity of your teeth.

Are you looking for a new dentist to help you maintain your pearly whites? Contact us to set up an appointment today.