Atlanta Dentist Explains the Difference Between Fillings and Root Canals

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Atlanta Dentist Explains the Difference Between Fillings and Root Canals

Dental fillings and root canal therapy are two of the most common restorative dentistry treatments. Your Atlanta dentist can use them to address similar concerns, and both can save even severely damaged teeth.  But there are some important distinctions between the two treatments, and they are recommended under different circumstances. 

Fillings are a more conservative option. Looking to minimize your time in the dental chair, Dr. Abbey J. Lee will perform this procedure whenever possible. At the same time, she and her team at Smiles 4 Grant Park are committed to saving damaged teeth, and she offers root canal therapy when necessary. Our office is equipped with the latest diagnostic technology so we can make an accurate and honest treatment recommendation. 

To learn more about these two restorative treatments or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.

When Dental Fillings Are Required

Most often, dental fillings are used to treat mild to moderate tooth decay. At first, a small, white spot may appear. This is the earliest sign of decay. At this point, the damage is reversible, and dental fillings are not usually necessary.

But if bacteria go unchecked, the decay will reach the inside of your tooth. At this point, a filling is likely the only way to stop bacterial spread and strengthen your tooth. When you have a cavity, you may experience a toothache, but decay is often asymptomatic. 

What Happens When You Receive a Filling

Before placing a filling, your Atlanta dentist will numb your tooth, so you will feel little, if anything, during the procedure. Then she will clean out the decayed tissue before placing the filling. At Smiles 4 Grant Park, we only use tooth-colored composite dental fillings, which have important cosmetic and health benefits. This material is applied in layers, and Dr. Lee will use a curing light to harden each layer. Finally, she will trim the last layer and polish any visible portion of the filling.

Indications that You Need a Root Canal

Root canal therapy is generally used for infected teeth, although the treatment may also be necessary if you have a cracked tooth. Although dental fillings are more common, root canal therapy is an established treatment with approximately 15 million performed each year.

Dental infections set in when cavities go undetected or untreated. Eventually, the bacteria can reach the soft pulp in the center of the tooth. From there, the microbes can travel down the tooth roots. Infected teeth often cause significant discomfort, especially in response to heat or cold. 

What Happens during Root Canal Therapy

A root canal begins much like a filling. Dr. Lee will clean out your tooth and remove all infected tissue. However, she will also need to clean out the root canals, which house the roots themselves. Then your Atlanta dentist will fill your tooth and the root canals with gutta percha. Like dental composite, this material is tooth-colored, but it is softer, much like rubber. Finally, she will place a dental crown, a larger restoration that goes all the way over a damaged tooth.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Dentist Today

If you are suffering from a toothache or have been told that you require restorative care, contact our office to learn more about your options

You can reach us online or give us a call at 404-328-7177.

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