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How do you know if you need root canal treatment or filling?

How do you know if you need root canal treatment or filling?

How do you know if you need root canal treatment or filling?

Dental decay is surprisingly widespread, with about 92 percent of adults developing cavities at some point in their lives. While most of us have had a dental filling, we frequently have little knowledge of the dreaded root canal surgery! This can make difficult in determining whether we require a simple filling or a more involved root canal operation. But what exactly is a root canal, and how does it vary from a regular filling? Here’s everything you need to know about both operations, as well as how to tell if you need them.

Difference Between a Root Canal Treatment and Filling?

Although there are some similarities between fillings and root canals, it’s important to understand the differences if you think you might require one or the other. Here’s is the difference between them:

Teeth Filling

When a patient has a cavity or slight tooth decay, we frequently recommend dental fillings. This is true only if the problems haven’t progressed to the pulp of the tooth or the connective tissues in the middle of the tooth. They’re also good for minor tooth fractures.
With a tooth filling, we’ll clear out any cavities and then use composite resin to cover the hole (or defect, in the instance of a fracture). This keeps the problem from getting worse and bringing you more pain and dental problems in the future.

Root Canal Treatment

You may also hear root canals referred to as “endodontic therapy.” When dental decay has progressed to the pulp of the tooth, a root canal is suggested, especially if an infection has developed. For more severe, untreated cavities, root canals may be required, which is why we encourage patients to come in for regular check-ups! Your dentist will remove the pulp of your tooth during a root canal operation to eradicate the infection. Then they’ll put a dental crown on top of it.

“Do root canals hurt?” many of our patients wonder. While root canals have a reputation for being the most painful dental operation, our answer is, “A lot less than you’d think!”

In contrast, according to a 2011 assessment of 72 research, only 17% of patients considered a root canal to be the worst dental surgery they’d ever had. A root canal is a more in-depth form of a filling, and with local anesthetic to numb the area, you should just feel pressure throughout the treatment rather than root canal discomfort.

Signs that you're in need of a filling

You may only require a simple tooth filling if your symptoms are modest. However, you must address the problem as soon as possible—before an infection necessitates a root canal.

Holes or Dark Spots

Cavities assault the tooth in such a way that they might leave a hole or dark patch on it. You can see a small discoloration or hole on your tooth if your cavity is visible in the mirror. As food settles into the hole caused by your cavity, you may find that it always gets caught between certain teeth. Your floss may shred in the same area every time it hooks on a section of the cavity.

Broken Teeth

People typically seek dental fillings because they have a cavity, but this isn’t the only reason. Fillings are also an excellent approach to treat tooth fractures since they prevent further tooth damage.

Symptoms of a Root Canal

You’ll need a root canal to fix the condition if the decay has reached the pulp of your tooth. But how do you know whether this is the case? Here are some points to Know.

Temperature Sensitivity

When you drink coffee or consume ice cream, your tooth may pain, which could indicate a more serious cavity. When the blood vessels in the tooth get infected, this occurs. Your tooth sensitivity may manifest as a subtle ache or a sharp pain, and it may last for several hours after eating, depending on the degree of the problem.

Teeth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration can have a variety of causes, but when it affects only one tooth, it’s usually a sign that an infection has developed in the pulp. This infection can cause harm to the tooth’s roots, tissue breakdown, blood supply weakness, and an ugly gray appearance.

Swollen Gums

If your gums swell around one tooth in particular, it could be an indication of infection. This is true regardless of whether the swelling or redness is uncomfortable to touch.

When You Touch the Tooth, It Hurts

Feeling pain on touching the tooth is one of the typical indicators that you may need a root canal. It’s possible that the sensitivity to touch extends to chewing, and it won’t go away even if you stop eating.

Loose Tooth

Your tooth may become looser once an infection has set in. Pulpal necrosis, or the death of a tooth’s nerve cells, can soften the bone surrounding it.

Symptoms that are common to both conditions

Sadly, there are a few symptoms that are more difficult to identify. These symptoms could necessitate a root canal, a dental filling, or something quite different. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor.


One of the most prevalent complaints we hear from our patients is tooth discomfort. Tooth discomfort, on the other hand, can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from a simple cavity to teeth grinding to infection.

The severity of your pain, on the other hand, may assist you determine which operation you’ll need. You may have a throbbing pain in your tooth when you need dental fillings, especially when chewing. When you need a root canal, the pain can be significantly stronger, and it may get worse if you expose your teeth to hot or cold conditions.

Bad Taste and Nasty Breath

Bad breath can be caused by food particles wedged inside a cavity, and this is true for both tiny and big cavities. Bacteria can be created by these food particles, which can lead to poor breath or a bad taste in your mouth.

Get Professional Opinion

If you’re having tooth pain, sensitivity, or any of the other symptoms listed above, you don’t have to figure out what to do next on your own—whether it’s a filling or a root canal. Understanding your symptoms can give you a better idea of what surgery is most likely, but we can also assist you comprehend what’s going on with your teeth and prescribe the best course of action.

Contact our friendly staff for a no-pressure, no-fear, no-judgment check-up. We’ll go over your options with you and help you discover the best dental health plan for you!

At Hollywood Smile Clinic we have free dental consultation. To schedule your orthodontic appointment, please contact us at +971 043510101 | +971 043510102 | +971 505192516


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