Dental filling, RCT or extraction? – A guide to dental treatment

Written by Dr. Priti Santi

November 9, 2019

Many times, a guide to dental treatment is a must as the patient is faced with a question like – should I save my tooth or get it pulled out?

Tooth decay is the most common problem affecting dental health. When a tooth starts to decay, it goes through various phases. It may begin as a white colored patch on the tooth. But most times you may not notice it. 

Soon you might feel a small cavity starting to form. Slowly, the cavity continues to increase in size. Food might be getting stuck in it and causing discomfort. Eventually, you might feel the pain which will prompt you to visit the dentist.

Do you prefer a simple filling over a root canal treatment? 

Simple Filling

Dentist drying tooth filling with UV lamp

If the tooth decay is in the initial stage, the dentist will treat it with a filling. There are many types of fillings, out of which the dentist will choose according to your case and preference. Hence if you want to avoid the root canal treatment one should seek a guide to dental treatment as early as possible from the dentist.

However, if the decay has already infected the tooth from inside or almost reached the nerve tissue, then a filling is not enough to treat the tooth.

In that case, you may be required to undergo a root canal treatment. In some cases such as a broken tooth or if too much of the tooth is lost, an extraction may be the only way out. But in some cases, the decision of whether to go for a root canal treatment or an extraction can be a little unclear.

When a tooth has to go for a root canal treatment or extraction, the dentist will usually recommend the root canal. This is because it is generally the best option to keep natural teeth. A root canal treatment is a practical way to save a tooth from extraction.

Root canal treatment is not as terrifying as it sounds!

A root canal includes removing exposed or damaged the inner pulp of the tooth. Your dentist will make sure you don’t feel pain by anesthetizing the tooth. The canals present in roots of the teeth are cleaned, disinfected and then sealed.

A filling is done to close the cavity. The final step is the placement of a ‘crown’ to stabilize the tooth and prevent future problems.

When a decayed tooth cannot be saved, extraction is recommended. The extraction of a tooth is a minor surgical procedure. In this process, you are given local anesthesia, the tooth is loosened from the jaws and then removed from the mouth.

Is a cap necessary after the root canal treatment ?


Yes. A root canal treated tooth is very brittle since the nerve tissue is no longer present. Our chewing action is subjected to heavy forces which can cause the tooth to break or fracture if support is not given.
Hence a crown or a cap placement after the root canal treatment is very important and a must in order to avoid fracture of the tooth caused by heavy chewing forces.

Worried about aesthetics after getting your tooth extracted?

After extraction, there are multiple ways to restore that tooth. In the case of multiple tooth extractions, there are options such as dentures and full mouth implants. It depends on your preference, budget, and availability.

 Your dentist will guide dental treatment for you when it comes to different treatment options. When decision making is difficult, it can be helpful to devise a pros and cons list. The dentist considers factors like age, cost and success rate and ultimately guides a dental treatment for your best interest. 

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