Do You Need a Root Canal Or a Filling?

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Root canal or filling? It’s a question we help patients with all the time. Whether you’re a current patient with an upcoming appointment, or a new client seeking an experienced Chicagoland dentist, Smile On Dental & Sleep Apnea Center will help you determine which option is best. 

Defining a Filling Vs. a Root Canal

Fillings and root canals are common procedures used to treat a cavity, fractured tooth, or tooth decay. But though they serve the same purpose, they’re significantly different. 

What is a Tooth Filling?

If one of your teeth has developed a small cavity or exhibits minor tooth decay that hasn’t yet affected the pulp of the tooth, our dentist serving Deerfield will likely recommend a tooth filling. The same is true for patients with a cracked or fractured tooth but no infection of the tooth’s root. The process of filling a tooth is a simple one: the dentist removes the decay from the tooth and then fills the hole (or crack in the case of a cracked/fractured tooth) with a tooth-colored composite resin to prevent the cavity or crack from enlarging and possibly leading to bigger issues down the road. 

What Is a Root Canal?

Our local root canal services are designed to help patients who have a tooth that has decayed to the point where the decay has reached the tooth pulp and caused an infection. The most common cause of this kind of severe decay is a cavity or cracked tooth that has gone untreated for a significant amount of time. A root canal procedure involves removing the infected/damaged pulp in order to save the natural tooth. In many root canal cases, the affected tooth loses material and thus become weaker and more susceptible to future infections/cracks. For this reason, once the pulp is removed the dentist reinforces the tooth with a dental crown so that the tooth functions normally again. 

How Do You Know Which Procedure Is Best?

Only a full exam conducted by our local dentist can confirm exactly which procedure is best for you. The following are symptoms associated with each procedure – if you experience any of these, you should schedule a dental exam right away. 

You May Need a Filling If…

  • You’ve broken, cracked, or lost an existing filling
  • Your tooth hurts when you bite down or chew
  • Your tooth is sensitive to hot/cold temperatures or sweet/sticky/sour foods
  • Food gets stuck between certain teeth whenever you eat

You May Need a Root Canal If…

  • Chewing or biting down causes severe pain
  • Your tooth’s severe pain is accompanied by a dark or discolored appearance 
  • The gums around the painful tooth are tender and swollen
  • You notice a small, pimple-sized bump on the gum line near the affected tooth

Don’t Take Any Chances – Contact Us Today

It can be hard to differentiate between filling and root canal symptoms – but in both cases, time is of the essence. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, or something about a certain tooth just doesn’t feel right, contact Smile On Dental & Sleep Apnea Center today.

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