Crown vs Filling: Which one is best for you?

If you have a cavity, you may be wondering which treatment your dentist will use — crown or filling? — and how they determine the best course of action.

Although fillings and crowns can both be used to treat cavities, the procedures work in different ways. The size of your cavity and the strength of your tooth will help determine which one is more appropriate.

What is a crown?

A dental crown is used to strengthen a weakened tooth or to replace a missing tooth, and is used to cover a dental implant. These crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain.

In addition to restorative procedures, crowns can also be used in cosmetic dentistry to cover an unattractive tooth and create a more balanced smile.

What is a filling?

A dental filling is used to fill a cavity. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), common materials for dental fillings include composite resins, dental amalgam, and gold fillings.

Crown vs Filling

A filling is used to fill a cavity in your existing tooth, while a crown covers the weakened tooth completely.

When do you need a crown vs filling?

According to the ADA, crowns are used when a tooth requires a large filling, but there “isn’t enough tooth remaining to hold the filling.” Crowns are typically used when teeth have become too weak or broken down to support a filling.

Your dentist will evaluate your oral health and determine whether a filling or crown is right for you.

Does a crown replace a filling?

A crown can be used to replace a filling. This is typically done when the filling would be too large for the tooth, or the tooth is not strong enough to support a filling.

Does a crown last longer than a filling?

A crown typically lasts longer than a filling. Crowns can last multiple decades provided you practice good preventative habits. Fillings typically last 10-15 years, but can last longer depending on the filling material, size and location of the filling, and your dental habits.

How to prevent cavities

Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, cavities, and even tooth loss.

Preventative dentistry helps keep teeth strong and prevent cavities from forming. This includes preventative dental services like regular teeth cleanings and examinations, as well as good preventative habits at home. Patients who wish to prevent cavities should brush their teeth twice a day, floss daily, and limit sugary food and drinks.

Think you might have a cavity already? To tell if you have a cavity, be on the lookout for symptoms like toothache, pain when eating or drinking, and visible holes in your teeth.

If you have concerns about cavities or other issues pertaining to your oral health, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment.

Interested in learning more about Prosthodontics / Dental Prosthetics?

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