How Dental Crowns and Fillings are Different

January 13, 2021 Jeffrey T. Baker, DDS PC

How can you tell if you need a crown or a dental filling? Both dental crowns and fillings are capable of repairing damage done to teeth but there are differences between the two. Our Shelby Township dentists will take into account your specific situation and use that information to determine which procedure is most appropriate.

Here’s how dental crowns and fillings differ from each other.

Dental Crowns Vs Fillings Shelby Twp Mi

When You Need a Filling

Small cavities often call for fillings. If the damage done to the tooth is minimal, you might be able to get away with just having a filling done. Fillings are often preferred over crowns because they involve less preparation at our Shelby Township dental office.

Like the name suggests, fillings are made out of tooth-colored composite resin and fill in small areas in your tooth that have decayed or been otherwise damaged. Many patients appreciate fillings because they are less invasive than dental crowns.

To prepare a tooth for a porcelain crown, the natural enamel must be filed down so the crown can easily fit over the top. With fillings, you are preserving as much enamel as possible to fill in only those areas that are damaged. Composite fillings also match the color of your natural tooth enamel which is perfect for teeth that show when you smile and talk.

The recovery period for a filling is short. After any local anesthetic has worn off, you can eat and speak normally. Some minor sensitivity is normal right after your appointment, but it should dissipate fairly quickly.

When You Need a Crown

When your teeth are severely damaged or decayed, you’re better off spending the extra money needed for a dental crown.

Dental crowns are different from fillings because they cover the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line. In fact, some of our patients call them “tooth caps.” For intensive tooth repair, a filling simply wouldn’t properly restore the tooth to its natural function and appearance.

Dental crowns help protect the underlying tooth enamel from experiencing further damage and sensitivity. Since crowns cap your natural teeth, they are more durable and usually last for longer periods of time than dental fillings.

Our dentists can advise you on whether a crown is necessary depending on the amount of tooth damage present. Teeth that have been weakened by repeated restorative dental treatments may also benefit by being fitted for dental crowns.

The dental crown procedure will involve our dentists designing and creating a custom tooth cap in the office to fit your smile using CEREC® same-day technology. Then, we’ll shape your natural tooth so that the crown comfortably fits on top.

Quick Comparison of Crowns and Fillings



  • Severely damaged or decayed tooth
  • More expensive
  • Covers decayed teeth
  • Minor tooth damage or decay
  • More affordable
  • Fills in decayed teeth

When deciding the best dental procedure for your tooth, you’ll need to consult with a knowledgeable dentist. From their prior experience treating patients, they’ll be able to determine whether the damage is severe enough to warrant a dental crown procedure or if you’ll be able to get away with a filling.

Even if the damage done to the tooth is minimal, some patients choose porcelain crowns for their durability. Ultimately, the choice will need to be discussed by you and your dentist.

Ready to Make an Appointment?

If you think you might have a cavity or another type of tooth damage, don’t wait to reach out. Our dentists in Shelby Township, MI, will let you know whether a crown or filling is right for you. Call the office of Jeffrey T. Baker DDS at (586) 992-9222 to request an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.

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