Filling vs. Root Canal
The most common dental problem is tooth decay. Tooth decay or caries is also known as cavities. Cavities are damaged and decayed areas of the hard surfaces, or enamel, of the teeth. Tooth decay are caused by the bacteria in the mouth converting left over food particles or sugar into acid to erode the enamel. Frequent snacking, sipping on sugary drinks, and not appropriately cleaning your teeth will increase your risk of cavities. Signs and symptoms of cavities depend on the extent and location of the damage. As the cavity gets worse, the symptoms usually get more serious. In the beginning of a cavity, the signs and symptoms may only include tooth sensitivity and mild toothache. However, as the cavity worsens, the signs and symptoms may involve sharp pain, visible holes or pits in the teeth, or black stains on the teeth surfaces. If cavities are not treated, the damage can worsen to a larger surface area and affect deeper layers of the teeth. This can lead to severe infection, toothache and loss of tooth. Severe complications of cavities may involve tooth abscess, swelling or pus around a tooth, chewing issues, or weight loss. For more mild cavities, fillings can help alleviate the problem. For severe decay, a root canal may be necessary.
A filling is used to restore damaged tooth caused by decay to its normal function and shape. During a filling procedure, your dentist will remove the decayed material on the tooth, clean the affected area, then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. Filling the damaged area will close off the holes to prevent bacteria from entering the area and cause further decay. There are various materials that can be used for fillings that include porcelain, composite resins, and an amalgam. The type of material used is based on individual preferences, extent of the repair needed, what types of allergies you have, where the filling is needed, and the cost of the filling material. If the decay or fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown or cap may be recommended by your dentist along with the filling.
When the tooth decay reached the nerve, then the cavity can be treated with a root canal. A root canal is used to repair and save a tooth that has been severely decayed or has become infected. The nerve and pulp of the decayed tooth are removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. The pulp needs to be removed because when the tooth’s nerve tissue is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria can begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and decayed debris can lead to infection or an abscessed tooth.
If you think you have a cavity that needs to be addressed, give our California Dental Group team a call. We can set up an appointment for you to see our dental professionals. Call us at (800) 407-0161 today.