How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal or a Tooth Filling?

There are few things more uncomfortable than having a toothache. However, while most people try to avoid visiting their dentist in NE Calgary if they’re in pain, this is not the way to go. You should immediately schedule an appointment with a dentist near you the moment you have any type of ache in one of your teeth. This is because pain can be the indication that something is wrong. Furthermore, you might be in need of a filling or a root canal procedure. You won’t know for certain which one you need until you visit a dentist near you.

However, there are certain signs and symptoms that might give you a clue as to what is going on with your teeth. Although most of these are similar whether you need a root canal treatment in NE Calgary or a filling, there are slight differences.

The first thing you need to know is that these procedures are completely different, and they treat different issues. Both a filling or a root canal respond to a situation in which there’s decay in one or more teeth. However, the degree and severity of the damage will determine which procedure you’ll need. While a filling is perfect to take care of minor cavities and tooth damage, a root canal is used when the infection has reached the pulp. The pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves, is extracted when you acquire a root canal near you, the tooth is filled and a crown is often put in place afterwards.

How to know what procedure you require?

As you can imagine, the severity of the symptoms will be different. Patients that require a filling will often feel:

  • Pain. This can be a constant throbbing or a stabbing pain. Furthermore, it might be exacerbated while you’re chewing or when you take a bite out of something.
  • You observe that the strings of your floss are getting stuck and torn when you use them on your teeth.
  • Increased sensitivity to the temperature of a meal.
  • A black or dark spot is visible on your tooth.

These symptoms are likely to be worse when you need a root canal. Here are some examples of what you might perceive when you need to have root canal therapy in NE Calgary:

  • Swelling of the gum area. You might see reddening and an increase in size. This usually takes place around the affected tooth.
  • Chipped or cracked tooth. It might be that a prior filling you had was affected or that you suffered some damage to one of your teeth.
  • Pain. Just like when you need fillings, there might be pain. However, the pain is often more severe when you need a root canal near you.
  • Sensitivity. Aside from being extremely sensitive to the temperature of your food, this feeling can last for days or weeks, even after you are not exposed to whatever caused it in the first place.

An important note to make when it comes to pain in both the case of needing a filling or a root canal is that this is not always the cause. This means that you can have a considerable amount of decay in one of your teeth without feeling any pain. This is where regular consults with a dentist near you come in handy. It’s advised that you visit your dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and deep cleaning. This is a great way to prevent the decay that could lead you to require a filling or a root canal treatment in NE Calgary.


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We continue to receive several emails and phone calls from our patients eagerly waiting to schedule appointments. We anticipate opening the office very soon for emergency and non urgent dental care very soon. I have been taking steps to ensure a high level of safety for our staff and patients once we are open.

We will limit the number of patients in our office at any one given time and make sure that social distancing between patients is followed as recommended by Dr. Hinshaw (Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer) and the Alberta Dental College.

Germs and viruses can spread easily so we want to make sure we are doing our part to protect our patients and staff through prevention measures. We will be having mandatory protocols in place for hand washing, sanitization of workspace and our staff wearing masks.

There will be limited staff available and we will make our best efforts to answer phones from 9am to 1:00 pm from Monday to Thursday to schedule emergency and non urgent dental care. If we do not answer your call please understand that we are assisting another patient or feel free to text me at 403-703-1914.

Please know that the safety of our patients and staff is our highest priority. We want you to feel comfortable the next time you visit our office knowing that we have taken the steps to protect everyone.