Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry

Root Canal vs Filling - What’s the Difference?

Root Canal vs Filling – What’s the Difference?

Reviewed by Dr. Henry Martinez, DMD

As a parent, you do everything you can to make sure your kid’s teeth are healthy and cavity-free. But unfortunately, cavities can still happen. 

If you recently found out that your child has a cavity, your dentist has probably told you that they need a filling and possibly even a root canal. 

This blog will discuss the differences between the two procedures. We will explain each procedure in detail so that you can prepare yourself and your child for the procedure.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is necessary when bacteria has infected the soft inner tissue (pulp) of a tooth. The inside of the tooth contains blood vessels and nerves and, when infected, can cause a lot of pain. 

A root canal treatment involves making a small hole in the affected tooth to remove the infected tissue. The hole will then be sealed, and a baby crown will be placed on the tooth, restoring it to its natural shape and function. 

Read Dental Crowns to learn more about the different types of dental crowns available. 

What are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are a procedure used to repair minor cavities and restore the tooth’s structure. First, the dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth. Next, they fill the cavity with a dental material such as composite resin or porcelain.

Dental fillings help prevent further decay and maintain the health of the adjacent teeth.Read A Guide to Dental Fillings for Kids for more information about this procedure.

Key Takeaway

The decision between a root canal and dental filling depends on the severity of tooth decay or damage. Fillings are typically used for minor issues, while root canal treatment is necessary for severe decay, infection, or trauma. Regular dental check-ups are crucial to catch and address oral problems early, promoting your child’s dental health and well-being.

Your dentist may recommend a root canal if your child has the following symptoms:

  • Severe or persistent tooth pain, especially while chewing or applying pressure
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Swelling of the gums around the affected tooth
  • Discoloration of the tooth (a gray or black appearance)

Your dentist may recommend a dental filling if your child has the following symptoms:

  • Minor decay that has not reached the tooth pulp
  • Small cavities or holes in the tooth
  • Mild tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Mild pain or discomfort when chewing or biting down

Prevention is Key

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to dental health. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent the need for root canals or fillings.

  1. Regular dental check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups for your child to catch any dental issues early. These visits should include professional teeth cleanings and comprehensive oral exams.
  2. Proper oral hygiene: Teach your child to brush their teeth at least twice daily and floss at least once a day. This will help remove plaque and prevent tooth decay.
  3. Healthy diet: Limit your child’s intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks, as these can contribute to tooth decay. Instead, encourage a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products.
  4. Use of fluoride: Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and can prevent decay. Ensure your child’s toothpaste contains fluoride, and consider a fluoride treatment at their dentist’s office.
  5. Dental sealants: Consider dental sealants. Sealants are a protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, and they can significantly reduce the risk of decay.
  6. Wear mouthguards: If your child plays sports, a mouthguard can protect their teeth from injury and potential trauma.

Ease Your Child’s Anxiety

Dental procedures, including root canals and filling treatments, can be intimidating for children. It is essential to address any fears or concerns your child may have before their appointment.

At Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we provide exceptional dental care for children of all ages and children with special needs. Our compassionate team and child-friendly office create a comforting and inviting environment to ease any anxiety.

A parent’s encouragement, support, and reassurance play a significant role in helping children feel at ease during their dental appointments. Read our guide on Preparing Your Child for a Dental Visit for helpful tips!

Keep Smiling With the Best Kids Dentist in Phoenix, AZ

Taking your child to the dentist can be a scary experience, causing stress and anxiety for both you and your little one. However, early detection and treatment of dental issues can save your child from painful and costly procedures in the future.

At Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to providing your child with the best pediatric dental care in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Our experienced dentist, Dr. Martinez, will work with you to create a positive dental experience for your child.

If you are searching for kid’s dental fillings in Phoenix, trust Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry. Call (602) 935-7427 or complete our online booking form to schedule your child’s appointment.


Can I Brush My Teeth After Composite Filling?

Yes, you can brush your teeth after getting a composite filling. After the filling is placed, it is completely hardened, so there is no need to wait to eat, drink, or brush your teeth.

Is It Safe To Do Root Canal for Kids?

Yes, root canal treatment is safe for kids. It is often recommended to save a child’s natural tooth and prevent further complications. Your child’s pediatric dentist will ensure the procedure is done with proper anesthesia to minimize discomfort.

If you are searching for the ‘top pediatric dentist near me,’ contact Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry.