Root Canal or a Normal Filling – How to Understand Which Dental Treatment Is Right for You

dentist cavities

Imagine you are having your meal or a snack, and suddenly you feel pain in one of your teeth. Before you know it, you realize that the pain is only growing stronger. You might even find tiny broken bits of your teeth falling out of your mouth. The damaged tooth feels sharp when you touch it, and a bit of blood is coming out as well. 

So what is happening?

It is easy to say that one or more of your teeth has been affected by cavities. Those cavities have likely damaged your teeth, causing them to break in places. A worrying situation, such problems need immediate dental care and treatment. 

As you reach your dentist, they present to you two different solutions – root canals, or normal fillings. Although they share many similarities, the two types of treatments are very different. And while your dentist will obviously help you choose the best option, it will not hurt if you learn a bit more about them.

Hence, in this article, we will try to understand the differences between a root canal and a normal filling and see which treatment is ideal for what kind of dental problems.

What is a Filling, and a Root Canal

In a filling, the dentist or oral surgeon will first clear out the cavities from your teeth. That in turn will expose small holes that the cavities made in your teeth. Dentists will then fill out the holes or fractures with composite resin. The resin solidifies after a certain time, preventing further damage to that tooth.

Root canals are for more extreme cases. Whereas a filling is only done when a tooth has surface-level damage, root canals are required when dentists discover infections in your tooth. Unlike normal decay, infections are deadlier. With tooth decay, you do not have to worry about any of the cavities spreading. However, infections can spread fast through the veins, which is why they require a different approach. 

During a root canal, the dentist will first apply local anesthesia numbing part of your mouth and then operate on the infection. They will clean up the infection inside the veins, fill it up, and place a crown to support your damaged tooth. A root canal is like the advanced version of a filling. 

Many claim root canals to be the worst dental procedure to have ever existed. However, thanks to modern methods, they are not that uncomfortable. Take Ann Arbor Dentistry, one of the best known dental clinics in Michigan, as an example. Apart from their impressive roster of experienced and expert dental hygienists, the dentistry also uses various advanced techniques to help patients with their oral problems. 

In doing so, they can minimize the uncomfort and pain that accompanies more traditional methods of dental treatment. Patients who have visited an Ann Arbor dentist can testify in favor of this statement. They use something called a “High tech root canal” to perform painless root canal procedures. While you will still feel a little uneasy during the procedure, it will not hurt or make you feel any sort of discomfort. 

When to Do a Filling and When to Get a Root Canal

You will need a filling the moment you discover dark spots or holes in your teeth. The cavities are already there, which is why a simple clean-up operation needs to be conducted on the infected teeth. Small decays and fractures also require a normal filling. Fillings are enough to keep them in place for a long time. Of course, you cannot put too much pressure on the treated tooth. Otherwise, there is a chance that you might break the filling.

Tooth discoloration and extreme sensitivity to temperature mean that you need a root canal. Such conditions expose the fact that your blood vessels under the teeth have been infected and exposed. Continuous pain and sensitivity are direct signs that you need an immediate root canal.

You will also need root canals if you end up breaking a large portion of your tooth. Such fractures also expose your core, which means an infection is likely there and spreading. 

Post-Treatment Impact

Normal fillings require a lot of caution. You should not put too much pressure on the treated teeth. Root canals are a lot more stable and stronger than fillings. Besides, root canals will also last longer than an ordinary filling.

That is all you need to know about fillings and root canals. Of course, your dentist will help you realize which treatment would be ideal for you. However, knowing what to expect from them does help.