Cavities and Root Canals: Everything You Need to Know

Are you experiencing your first cavity and unsure if you need a root canal? Not everyone will need one. Sometimes a cavity, if not severe, can be fixed with a simple dental filling. Several things can cause cavities, but the most common are poor oral hygiene, a low-quality diet filled with sugar, or bacteria that has become trapped in your mouth.

Do not put off treating a cavity! You should take care of it before it becomes a severe problem. We will fill you in on the details and things you need to know about cavities and your dental health.

Signs You Have a Cavity

You may not know it, but there are sure signs that could mean you have a cavity. When left untreated, cavities can cause serious dental problems like dental decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. This is why it is essential to be aware of the symptoms of a cavity so you can take action as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any of the following signs, make an appointment with your dentist as quickly as possible: 

  • Pain when chewing or biting
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures 
  • A change in the coloring of your tooth enamel 
  • Swelling and/or redness in the gums around a tooth 
  • A tooth has become loose, or teeth that seem to be moving more than normal

Tooth Filling for a Cavity vs Root Canal Treatment

When it comes to having a cavity, you typically need a root canal or a tooth filling. Most people would say they would rather avoid a root canal if possible, but a filling is not always comfortable for some patients either.

What is the difference between the two procedures, and when is a dental filling or root canal needed? Here are some things you should know about the two procedures.

Root Canal

Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatment is not just for people with cavities. In fact, you may need a root canal for several reasons, including infection, a cracked tooth, or an abscess.

A root canal is a dental procedure typically performed to save a tooth that has been damaged due to tooth decay or infection. Root canals are a common procedures in dentistry, and you can often have it done in one visit.

Your dentist will take out the damaged or infected pulp from the inside of the tooth pulp and then seal it back up with a dental crown. You may need a root canal procedure if you have severe decay, an infection, or extensive damage to the tooth. If left untreated, you may experience severe pain, swelling, and tooth loss. Fortunately, root canal therapy is usually successful in restoring function and preventing further damage to the tooth.

Tooth Filling

A tooth filling is a dental treatment used to fill a cavity or minor tooth decay in a tooth. Cavities are caused by bacterial decay, which can occur when plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth. If left untreated, cavities can lead to infection and even tooth loss.

Dental fillings are used to seal off the hole in the tooth and stop the spread of bacteria. A dental filling can sometimes save fractured teeth that have not become infected. Tooth fillings are made from various materials, including gold, silver, porcelain, composite resin, and ceramic. Most people will need at least one dental filling in their lifetime.

If you are experiencing any cavity symptoms, such as tooth pain or sensitivity when biting down, it is important to see your dentist for treatment. We can also provide treatment for a cracked or missing filling.

Cavity FAQs

How can I prevent cavities from forming?

The best way to prevent cavities is to practice good oral health at home and continue to receive regular dental checkups. These are a few tips we recommend to keep your teeth healthy and free of cavities:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • See your dentist every six months for normal dental exams and regular cleanings.
  • Eat a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and avoid sugary drinks and snacks.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially after eating sugary foods.
  • If you notice that your tooth hurts or any new problems arise, contact your dentist as soon as possible to avoid severe problems. Do not wait until your next regularly scheduled dental exam.

How much does a root canal cost to remedy a cavity?

Root canal treatments can vary in cost, but they are relatively affordable for most people. Dental insurance providers will typically cover some of the costs, but we recommend consulting them first.

It is important to note that delaying a root canal treatment can make it more expensive for you as the damage will only worsen and require more work. If you need a root canal to fix the affected tooth, schedule it right away to avoid the need for tooth extraction.

Will I experience root canal pain?

If you need root canal therapy, you may be concerned about the amount of pain you will experience during treatment. While every person tolerates pain differently, most patients report that the discomfort is moderate and manageable. In fact, with modern dental techniques and anesthesia, the majority of root canals are now completed with little to no discomfort at all.

If you have any concerns or questions about what to expect during your treatment, be sure to speak with your dentist. They can answer any questions you have and help put your mind at ease.

Contact Us For an Appointment

If it has been a while since you have seen a dentist or if you are experiencing any oral discomfort, call our dental office to schedule an appointment. We can check for cavities and see if root canals or tooth fillings are needed. Early detection is vital in preventing more severe problems down the road, so do not wait! Contact Metro Dental today at 914-533-4200 to book your appointment.