Your dentist may recommend root canal treatment or a tooth filling when you have a cavity, dental decay, or a fractured tooth. While both dental procedures are very common and used to treat similar tooth issues, fillings and root canals couldn’t be more different.
If you haven’t made it to the dentist yet, you may find yourself wondering if you need a root canal or just a simple tooth filling. While only a skilled dentist can tell you for sure, the following information may help you determine which treatment would be best for your tooth problem.
What is the difference between a root canal and a filling?
- A tooth filling may be recommended if your tooth has a smaller cavity or minor tooth decay that hasn’t reached the pulp of the tooth. If you have a fractured tooth and your root isn’t infected, then your dentist may be able to save your tooth with a filling, as well. During the treatment, your dentist will clean out any decay and then fill the hole or crack with tooth-colored composite resin so the cavity or crack won’t lead to bigger dental problems later.
- A root canal or endodontic therapy may be needed if you have a severely decayed tooth that has reached the tooth pulp and caused an infection. Untreated cavities and cracks in your teeth can often lead to tooth infections that warrant root canal therapy. During the treatment, your dentist will save your natural tooth by removing the damaged pulp to relieve you of pain, infection, and inflammation. Afterward, a dental crown will be placed to restore full tooth functionality.
How do you know if you need a filling for your tooth?
If you experience any of the following, you probably need a tooth filling. Schedule a dental exam as soon as you can if you notice these signs of dental decay and other minor tooth issues. Doing so will ensure that your tooth is treated early enough that you can ward off severe tooth decay or damage later.
- You have a throbbing or sharp pain in your tooth.
- Your tooth hurts when you chew or bite down.
- You can actually see a dark spot or hole on your tooth.
- Your tooth becomes sensitive when exposed to hot or cold temperatures, or sweet, sticky, sour foods.
- Food gets stuck between certain teeth every time you eat.
- When you floss, the string tears on your tooth.
- You’ve lost, broken, or cracked a tooth filling.
- You have a fractured tooth.
When do you need a root canal?
A root canal may be needed if you have major dental decay, or a severely cracked or broken tooth. If you experience any of the following symptoms, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment. Timing is critical if you want your dentist to save your tooth with a root canal, so schedule an appointment right away if you notice any of the following:
- Your tooth pain is severe, especially when you chew or put pressure on your tooth.
- You notice a small, pimple-like bump on your gum line near your painful tooth.
- Your tooth is severely painful and has a dark or discolored appearance.
- Your gums are tender and swollen around your painful tooth.
- Your tooth remains painful and sensitive after being exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
It’s important to know that you may still need a root canal or tooth filling even if your tooth isn’t painful. If your dentist recommends a filling or root canal treatment, it’s important to move forward with your individualized treatment plan, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms at all.
Remember: The above information points are to be used as general guidelines and you SHOULD NOT use this information to determine anything yourself. If you think you may be a good candidate for a tooth fillings or root canal treatment, contact our Clintonville, Ohio dentists for a thorough dental exam.
Root Canal Treatment & Tooth Fillings in Columbus Ohio
Tooth decay can spread quickly and cracks in teeth can worsen over time. Rest assured that our experienced dentists at Capstone Dental in Columbus can easily diagnose tooth decay or tooth fractures early during routine teeth cleanings and exams. During these exams, our dentists will be able to spot whether you need a root canal or tooth filling. Our team uses only the highest quality tools to perform root canal therapy, and the best materials to craft durable, tooth-colored fillings and dental crowns. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.