Young Bui, DDS
30 East 40th Street Suite 1201
New York, NY 10016

Fillings vs. Root Canals- Which One Do You Need?

Who wins in the fight of fillings vs. root canals? It’s no surprise that almost 65% of US adults took dental appointments at the beginning of 2019. Sure, unbearable dental pain is hard to ignore, but it’s dangerous to overlook your dental health. This is especially since it relates to your overall health.

Fillings vs Root Canals 101

Dental surgeries or treatments become necessary due to severe or progressive oral conditions. Some of the most common procedures include tooth fillings and root canals. On the surface, they may seem like relatively similar dental procedures. In contrast, they could not be any more different. Therefore, it can be a cumbersome task to determine which procedure you need. To make it easier, we have listed a few key factors, so you know which procedure to get – a tooth filling or a root canal?

Tooth Filling vs. Root Canal- What Are They?

A Tooth Filling

A dental/ tooth cavity is home to bacteria and germs that build up in your tooth. Hence, a tooth filling’s primary goal is to remove the decay and follow up with restoration.

It pertains to filling the hole in the teeth (hole left after the removal of the decay/ cavity) with suitable materials/ minerals. In the past, silver and mercury were dentists’ prime choice when filling a tooth. Needless to say, they were caused various chronic conditions in patients.

3 Common Tooth Fillings:

  • Dental Amalgam: silver in appearance, a dental amalgam contains a mixture of copper, tin, mercury, and even silver! It is extremely cheap and offers intense durability.
  • Composite Resins– these fillings are tooth-coloured to provide a natural teeth color. This filling contains quartz or glass, which means excellent durability and resistance in case of pressure. They are applicable on either the front or the back of the teeth.
  • Gold Fillings– unlike other fillings, gold on-lays offer extreme durability and tooth strength while lacking a natural look. However, who’s to say that patients with a taste for luxury would pass on the chance to embellish their teeth with gold fillings?

A Root Canal

Your teeth are made up of the hardest tissue in your entire body. The structure comprises an outer layer (enamel), a second layer (dentin), and finally, the soft pulp at the tooth’s center (connective tissues, nerves). Generally, a root canal involves the removal of the inflamed or infected pulp at the tooth’s center. A root canal procedure saves the tooth while boosting oral health. Thus, it is the most viable option once tooth fillings cannot treat progressing tooth decay.

Tooth Filling vs. Root Canal- When Do You Need One?

Symptoms Hinting to a Tooth Filling

A dental/ tooth filling is an optimal treatment if you experience the symptoms below:

  • Dark/ black spots and holes on teeth
  • Tooth fractures
  • Food sticking between teeth, frequently
  • Sharp pain in teeth
  • Hot and/ or cold sensitivity

Symptoms Hinting to a Root Canal

Initially, you can treat dental/ tooth decay with a filling. But as the decay progresses, severe damage demands root canal therapies. Hence, consider making an appointment with your endodontist today if you experience the symptoms below or anything similar

  • Swollen/ tender gums
  • Pain in gums upon light touch
  • Bumps on gum lines
  • Painful biting and chewing
  • Persistent pain in the jaw

Tooth Filling vs. Root Canal- What Are Their Procedures?

The Tooth Filling Procedure

The first step involves the administration of local anesthesia, numbing the affected tooth and the surrounding parts to prevent pain during the surgical procedure. A laser or an air abrasion tool helps remove tooth decay from the affected tooth. After ensuring the total removal of decay from the affected tooth and around it, your endodontist will clean the empty space.

Subsequently, your endodontist will put a protective material onto the lining if the decay was near the root. Then, they will fill the disinfected cavity with materials such as the ones above (numerous amalgams). Finally, they will use a solidifying light to harden the fillings, trim the excess filling for your desired shape, and polish to conclude the restoration.

The Procedure of a Root Canal

The root canal process is simple and appears similar to tooth filling. But on the contrary, it involves special skills and higher levels of expertise. Initially, after numbing the affected tooth, your endodontist will use special fiber tools to remove the infected pulp from the teeth’s center.

Tooth cavity fillings vs root canals which to get

Accordingly, they will clean and disinfect the tooth canals using antibacterial solutions. Moreover, using a rubber dam, they will fill the cavity and seal it using a soft paste (sealer paste) that protects the new filling from your saliva.

In addition, crown placement occurs at the final stage of the procedure. A crown gives your tooth a fresh and natural look, so you feel confident with your smile.

Fillings vs. Root Canals: Conclusion

In case you are unable to determine which procedure you need, you can always search for the best dental care advice. One of the best dental specialists in Manhattan, Dr Young Bui DDS, at Bryant Park Endodontics (official website for more info), has impeccable expertise in performing dental procedures.

The compassionate and helpful staff at Bryant Park Endodontics are ever-ready to inform and take care of  patients before and after the procedure.

Call us today at 646-205-3045 to schedule an appointment today.

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