The difference between having a cavity and needing a root canal

the difference between a cavity and needing a root canal

Derry Heights Dental in Milton is a full-service dental practice specializing in general and cosmetic dentistry for the whole family.

The Derry Heights dental team offers complete dental services while also encouraging their patients to maintain optimal oral health practices at home.

However, despite practising meticulous oral care habits, at some point, you may experience pain or discomfort in your teeth. While many things can cause toothaches, one of the reasons could be that you have a cavity. In some cases, if the pain becomes unbearable, it could mean a root canal may be necessary. In either case, relieving the pain requires a trip to the dentist.

Many people are unclear about the difference between needing a filling for a cavity versus needing a root canal, so the first step is to understand the difference between the two. Cavities are extremely common and caused by plaque buildup that eventually causes tooth decay. While cavities can range in severity, the tooth is not as damaged as it is when needing a root canal.

Cavities can be fixed by applying a filling made of either white composite resin or silver. The procedure is relatively quick and involves a freezing anesthetic injected into the gums around the affected tooth. The dentist will then remove the cavity and cement in the filling, and once the numbness has subsided the tooth is ready to use.

Needing a root canal is a more involved procedure, and the difference for many begins with the amount of pain they experience. This is because needing a root canal means there is an infection deep in the canal of the tooth and the nerve is severely inflamed and infected.

It is important to note that not all teeth that require a root canal cause pain, and this is why many are confused as to why their dentist suggests a root canal versus a filling.

The simple answer is that a cavity is decay nearer to the surface of the tooth, not in the root, and can easily be fixed with a filling. When a root canal is needed, there is severe decay and an infection deep in the tooth pulp that will become worse over time. It is also a more invasive procedure that requires a longer recovery period.

During a root canal the dentist will inject a local anesthetic to freeze the area as well as nitrous oxide gas for those who prefer to be less conscious. The infection and tooth pulp will then be cleaned along with the entire affected area.

A filling is used to close the tooth; however, because the tooth is now essentially dead, the dentist will have you return in a few weeks to be fitted for a permanent crown so that the tooth stays intact. The end result is you are able to keep your tooth and because the nerves are dead, you will never experience pain in that tooth again.

If you want the best in professional dental services, visit the Derry Heights Dental team today! Call them at 905-875-4232 to book an appointment.

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