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

I Have A Really Bad Cavity. Do I Need A Root Canal?

No matter how meticulously we practice oral health care habits at home, we are bound to experience some discomfort in our teeth at some point in time. While there may be several reasons behind the toothache, one main reason could be that we have cavity.

Really bad cavity - Root canal or filling?

Do you have a really bad cavity? The need for a root canal depends on the severity of our pain. If it reaches the unbearable point, then a root canal might be in order. In either case, we will most certainly need to consult a dentist to find relief for the pain.

Really Bad Cavity: Root Canal or Filling?

We are usually unclear about when a filling is necessary for a cavity and when we need a root canal. The first step therefore is to enlighten ourselves about the differences between the two. Cavities are a very common occurrence due to the accumulation of plaque, which leads to tooth decay. While the severity of the cavities may differ, the tooth however does not suffer as much damage as it does when it requires a root canal.

Dentists fix cavities easily by using a filling for application made with either silver or white composite resin. The procedure is not time consuming in the least. The patient receives an injection of freezing anesthesia into the gums surrounding the infected tooth. The dentist then removes the cavity and puts in the filling to cement it. The tooth is ready for use once the numbness subsides.

A root canal procedure requires more involvement. Many experience the differences for pain they have to endure. This is entirely because a root canal requirement means that the infection is deep into the canal of the tooth and that the nerve is severely infect and inflamed.

We must take note of one important fact that pain is not always a prerequisite for a root canal; in fact, there may be circumstances when the tooth might not pain at all but still require a root canal. This is why most of us often get confused why our dentists prescribe a root canal instead of filling.

A very simple explanation is that cavity is a decay, which lies near the surface of the tooth but not in its root. This is why it a dentist can sort this issue out with a filling. However, when we need a root canal, there will certainly be an infection and a severe decay lying deep in the pulp of the tooth, which will deteriorate with time. This procedure not only requires a longer period to heal but also is also quite invasive.

While a root canal in under process, the dentist injects a local anesthesia in order to freeze the area. For those who prefer to be less conscious during the procedure, the dentists also use nitrous oxide gas. The process then includes the dentist cleaning the tooth pulp and the infection in addition to the rest of the affected area.

To close the tooth, the dentist uses a filling but since the tooth is essential functionless at this point, the dentists have to reschedule a visit for the patients in the following few weeks. In this visit, the dentist fits the patient with a permanent crown to firmly secure the tooth in its place. The result of all this procedure is that we get to hold on to our tooth but since the nerves are essentially dead, we will never experience a reoccurrence of pain in that tooth.

What is a Cavity?

Tooth decay is what we call a cavity. It makes a hole that forms in our tooth. Cavities initially occur minutely but when left untreated, the problem begins to expand. Initially, the cavities do not cause any pain or discomfort which is why it is difficult to realize initially that a problem exists. This is why you should keep up with your dental checkup schedules regularly so that you can detect tooth decay in its earliest stage.

Tooth Cavity Symptoms

The severity of the decay in our tooth determines the symptoms of cavity. They include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • A hole that is visible in the teeth
  • Tooth ache
  • White or black staining on our teeth

Treatment Options

We must first discuss our symptoms, such as pain or sensitivity, with our dentist. Our dentist can then identify our tooth decay with an oral scan. In cases where cavities are not really visible even in an oral exam, an x-ray can help identify decay.

Really bad cavity root canal or filling?

The severity of our problem determines which treatment will suit us best.

Tooth Fillings

A dentist removes tooth decay material with the help of a drill. The dentist then fills up the tooth with a substance, such as gold, silver, or composite resin.

Root Canal

When our nerves die due to tooth decay, the dentist has to perform a root canal to rescue our tooth. The dentist takes away the blood vessel tissues, the nerve tissue, and all the areas of our tooth that has decayed. Our dentist further probes for infection and then applies the required medication the roots. The dentist fills in the tooth last and places a crown on it.


In cases of severe decay, the dentist covers the affected tooth with a custom fitted crown as a replacement of the original crown. The dentist cleans away the decayed material from our tooth before beginning the procedure.

For the best dental experts, contact us. We use only the most advanced technology to give you the best dental experience possible.


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