Root Canal Vs Filling

What is the difference between a root canal and a filling?

A root canal is a completely different procedure to a normal tooth filling.  A tooth may develop a cavity from bacteria eating sugars in your mouth and producing acid that softens and dissolves the tooth.  As long as this cavity does not reach the nerve of the tooth (we call it the pulp) it has not caused infection and inflammation inside the tooth.  The cavity can be cleaned and a filling placed into the hole.

But if the cavity and bacteria reach the root canal system inside the tooth,  it infects the nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth.  This often comes with pain, but sometimes if it happens slowly, you do not feel anything until the nerve is completely dead.

If the root canal system is damaged this must be cleaned and treated first.  If the inflamed and infected tissue inside the root canal system is not treated first and a normal tooth filling placed on top, the problem will be sealed inside the tooth and will lead to sometimes significant pain.


Why can’t I have a filling instead of a root canal?

Generally, you would not place a filling straight into a tooth that has pain.  It is important to determine what the pain is and is it due to damage in the root canal system with inflammation and infection of the nerve and blood vessels.  You would also not place a filling straight into a tooth where the cavity is so large it has invaded the root canal space, even if there is no pain.  These are examples of when a filling cannot be placed instead of a root canal.


Is a root canal worse than a filling?

No a root canal is not worse than a filling, only different.  Both are numbed with local anaesthetic in the same way and should both be pain free experiences.  The only difference is the time required to complete the treatment. However, Dr Barbara here in spring hill is highly skilled in rotary endodontics and uses apex locators and endo activators all of which improve the success and shorten the time needed to complete the root canal treatment.

Book Online today or call our lovely receptionist who can help with your questions.  Or explore more information on root canal treatments.


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