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? Dental crowns and fillings are both capable of repairing damage done to teeth. However, there are differences between the two that could determine which one our dentist recommends during your next appointment. Here’s what you need to know.

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 can be preferred over dental crowns because they are completed within a single visit to our family dentistry.

Like the name suggests, cavity fillings are made out of dental amalgam or 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 should be able to 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 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 wouldn’t be capable of properly restoring 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 underlying teeth, they are more durable and usually last for longer periods of time than dental fillings.

An experienced dentist will be able to advise you on whether a crown is necessary for 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.

In order to apply a dental crown, we’ll need to custom-make the tooth cap to fit your smile. Then, the natural tooth will be shaved down so that the crown can fit over it.

Quick Comparison of Crowns and Fillings

  • Crowns

  • Severely damaged or decayed tooth
  • Takes 2 dental visits
  • More expensive
  • Covers decayed teeth
  • Fillings

  • Minor tooth damage or decay
  • Takes 1 dental visit
  • 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, don’t wait to visit our office. Our restorative 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.

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