The Differences Between a Cavity Filling and a Root Canal

Teeth are exposed to bacteria on a daily basis. When this bacteria is allowed to thrive, it slowly eats away at the tooth structure. This is called decay. If the level of decay gets worse the tooth will form a hole, also known as a cavity. Depending on the depth of the cavity the dentist may order a simply cavity filling or a Root Canal. Understanding the differences between the two is important for anyone currently dealing with tooth decay.

Basic cavities are usually small. They are restricted to the enamel or the outermost part of the tooth. The tooth itself is not currently in jeopardy; however, if the cavity isn’t treated, it will continue to grow. A larger cavity may even reach the nerve chamber. When this happens, the patient usually has extreme pain. Tooth extraction may be indicated, depending on the size of the cavity. In order to save the tooth, all simple cavities must be treated with a filling.

When the dentist fills a cavity, they use a dental drill to remove all of the decay from the tooth. Cavities cannot grow if there is no decay present. A special material will be placed into the hole to prevent decay from entering it once the patient leaves. Fillings are made out of either a silver metal alloy or a tooth-colored composite material. Once the filling is in place, the cavity is considered treated.

If the cavity is large and the nerve of the tooth is affected, the dentist will order a Root Canal. The procedure is very similar to a simple filling; however, the dentist must drill deeper into the tooth. During the procedure, the tooth will be opened up and all infected tissue, including the pulp and the nerve, will be removed. A rubber material will fill these empty crevices. The tooth will be sealed with a cavity filling, and the dentist will recommend covering the tooth with a dental crown.

Both cavity fillings and root canals are used to protect teeth that have been damaged by decay. Simple fillings are used for minor damage, while root canals are reserved for teeth that have nerve damage. Both procedures are painless. Visit us to learn about ways to protect your teeth from decay. You can also follow them on Twitter for more updates.

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