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Root Canal vs. Filling vs. Crowns: Dental Procedures Explained

by Youth Dental

Root Canal vs. Filling vs. Crowns: Dental Procedures Explained

Reviewed By Dr. Jodi Kuhn

Reading time: 5 minutes

Taking care of your child’s teeth is essential, and it can sometimes be tricky to decide what treatment is best for their specific dental issues.

This blog will help you understand these common dental treatments: root canals, dental fillings, and dental crowns.

Key Takeaway

A root canal is used to treat a severely decayed or infected tooth. The treatment involves treating the inside of the tooth. A dental filling is used to treat an area of decay on the outside of the tooth. A dental crown covers a tooth that has been damaged or has extensive decay, restoring its shape and function.

Root Canal Treatment

Pulling a tooth is always the last resort, especially if it’s a baby tooth.  So when a tooth becomes severely decayed or infected, a root canal is performed to save the tooth.  

Did you know?

The inside of the tooth is called the pulp chamber. Dental pulp, the stuff inside the pulp chamber, consists of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When bacteria enter this area, it can cause infection and inflammation, leading to a lot of pain and discomfort. 

A root canal procedure involves making a small opening on the top of the tooth. Then, the infected pulp is taken out. Once all the infected tissue is removed, the pulp chamber is cleaned and disinfected. The opening is sealed, and the tooth is shaped so that your teeth fit together perfectly.

Sometimes, a dental crown is needed to cover the tooth after a root canal. If the tooth is a baby tooth, a baby crown will be used. Premade stainless steel crowns are often used on children because they are very strong. However, if the affected tooth is at the front of the mouth, a tooth-colored crown will be used.

Dental Fillings

Cavities are a common occurence in kids. Even with good dental hygiene habits, cavities can still happen. When they do, a dental filling is used to treat the cavity and prevent it from getting bigger.

Dental fillings are made of different materials. The two most common materials are composite resin and amalgam.

Did you know?

The outside of the tooth is covered in enamel. Its job is to protect the teeth from cavities and damage. Enamel is harder than bone!

When bacteria, acid, food, and saliva mix, it makes plaque. Plaque is sticky, and it coats your teeth (this is bad!). As it sits on the teeth, the acid in the plaque starts to break down the enamel, which makes cavities or holes. This is why brushing twice a day is so important. Brushing is plaques’ enemy! When you brush your teeth, you brush away pesky bacteria so that plaque can’t form.

It is really important to treat a cavity because if you don’t, it will grow bigger and bigger until the whole tooth is just one big cavity! So, if you see a spot on your child’s tooth that is brown, yellow or black, make sure you have it checked by your dentist.

The filling procedure is usually very quick. The dentist will numb the area around the tooth with local anesthesia. Once the area is numb, the cavity is cleaned, and all the bad stuff is removed. Removing the decay will leave a hole in the enamel, so filling material is used to fill in the hole.

Think of a dental filling like fixing a pothole in the road. If you don’t fill the hole, it will get bigger and bigger until it ruins the entire road. A special crew comes and fills the hole up with material to make it safe for cars to drive over. A dental filling does the same thing, it fills in the hole so your tooth stays strong and protected.

Dental Crowns

If the cavity has become too big to be treated with a filling, a dental crown may be needed. A dental crown is a cap that covers the entire tooth to protect it and keep it strong.

Crowns are made of porcelain, ceramic, metal or stainless steel. Metal crowns are usually used on baby teeth because they are very strong. However, for adult teeth, porcelain and ceramic are the most popular choices because they look more natural.

Did you know?

Porecelain or ceramic crowns look so real that people won’t able to tell which tooth has a crown on it!

The dental crown procedure is similar to the filling procedure. The dentist will numb the area with local anesthesia and remove any decay. Then, they will shape the tooth so that the crown can fit perfectly over it.

If a stainless steel crown is used, it will be put on the same day. If a ceramic or porcelain crown is used, a mold of your teeth is taken and sent to a lab where they make the permanent crown. In the meantime, a temporary crown is placed over the tooth. When the permanent crown is ready, you’ll come back and have it fitted onto your tooth.

Youth Dental – Your Trusted Family Dentist

At Youth Dental, your child is our #1 priority.  We understand that kids are not little adults-they have their own unique dental needs! That’s why we strive to create a comfortable, positive experience for every child that comes through our doors.

Our team of experienced dentists are dedicated to providing gentle and effective treatments. We use the latest technology and techniques to ensure that your child receives the best possible care.

We understand that times are tough and everyone is on a budget. If you suspect your child has a cavity but you’re afraid that the cost of fixing it will be too high, we can help. We accept Medicaid at all of our locations – Denver, Aurora, Hampden and Thornton. We will work with you to find the best treatment plan for your child within your budget.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, contact Youth Dental to schedule an appointment and keep your child’s smile healthy and strong! Together, we can prevent cavities, save teeth, and restore smiles. 

If you are searching for a ‘dentist in Denver that takes Medicaid’, or a ‘kid friendly dentist near me’, we can help! Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment at any of our locations or complete the online booking form.

Additional Resources

Preparing Your Child With Special Needs For a Dentist Visit

Strengthening Your Child’s Teeth With The Right Foods

Everything You Need to Know About Pediatric Dental Sedation

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