Do I Need a Filling or Root Canal Treatment?

Tooth pain is a dental issue that simply can’t be ignored. Depending on the severity of the problem (for example, if you have a cavity, fractured tooth, or dental decay), a dentist may recommend a filling or root canal treatment. Both procedures are very common and are used to treat similar conditions; however, the two could not be more different.

What’s the Difference?

Since fillings and root canals are both used to treat decaying teeth, it’s no surprise that people often get them confused. The difference lies entirely in how far the infection or decayed tooth has spread. A filling can help to restore a tooth that is damaged by a smaller cavity or a minor tooth decay that hasn’t reached the pulp. If it’s not yet infected, fillings are the best way to save the damaged tooth and surrounding area. In addition, cavities that develop from plaque build-up are treated with fillings as well, since the blood vessels and nerves around the tooth don’t require more attention.

In more serious cases, where a tooth has been infected to the point where it has reached the pulp or root, a root canal treatment, otherwise known as endodontic treatment, is needed. The most common causes of a root canal are from cracks in your teeth or untreated cavities. To treat it, the decayed pulp must be removed to relieve pain and save your natural tooth.

Common Symptoms for a Filling

If you experience any warning signs of decay, schedule a dental exam as soon as you can to avoid further damage. Doing so will ensure early treatment and you’ll have a better chance of stopping the infection from spreading.

If you experience any of the following, chances are you may need a dental filling:

  • Throbbing or sharp pain in your tooth
  • Fractured tooth
  • Food constantly getting stuck between your teeth
  • Dark spots or holes on your tooth
  • Sensitive teeth when exposed to cold or heat

Common Symptoms for a Root Canal

A root canal may be needed if there is severe decay and/or intense pain on your tooth. Timing is critical if you want to save the tooth from getting worse, so don’t hesitate to seek treatment once you experience warning signs.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible:

  • Tooth is severely painful
  • Gums are tender and swollen
  • Small bumps on your gum line
  • Chewing is painful

Call us today to book an appointment at (770) 467-3888! One of our friendly Austell team members will be glad to assist you.

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