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I Have a Large Cavity and I Am Not in Pain Do I Need a Root Canal?

Many are uncertain about the difference between cavity and a root canal. Cavities are most common and are caused by plaque buildup which causes tooth decay. Decay is softening of enamel cause by acids. These acids are formed when plaque bacteria break down sugars in your mouth. Decay can occur between teeth and on the pits of the tooth if acids are not completely removed by brushing and flossing. Decay happens over time and if not treated will result as a cavity.

 The most common form of treatment for a cavity is to see a dentist and get the cavity filled. This procedure is quick and it includes an anesthetic injected into the gums around the decayed tooth. The anesthetic numbs the tooth to prevent discomfort. Your dentist will remove the decayed structure and replace it with resin to restore the shape of the tooth.

When pain is present this is the sign of a deep cavity into the nerve. This may cause severe pain and root canal therapy will be necessary. Note that not all teeth that require root canal cause pain. Sometimes the gum around the tooth that doesn’t hurt but is infected may have an elevation (also known as abscess) that is inflamed. This is a fistula. Fistula is a tunnel filled with pus that travels from the infection site of the tooth to the surface of the gum. Fistula keeps pressure from building in the tissue and that is the reason for no pain. If the tooth does not undergo root canal it will infect nearby tissues and also cause bone loss. The main reason for the root canal is to save the decayed tooth from extraction. The endodontist will shape and irrigate the canals to remove the bacteria from the infected site. The pulp and the nerve tissue are removed as well and the canals are filled with a biocompatible material.

Many believe that after a root canal they will not experience pain again. This is not entirely true. The tooth will no longer be sensitive to hot and cold but the area around the tooth will be sensitive sometime after the treatment.

If you have any questions regarding cavities and root canals please contact Dr. Jafferally here at Smiles on Greatwood  Dentistry. You can reach us at: (281) 937-7530 or email us at smilesongreatwood@yahoo.com.

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