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How Dental Crowns & Fillings Are Different

Dental Crowns Dentist Grand Rapids, MI

Dental Crowns Dentist Grand Rapids, MIDo you have a cavity? Dental crowns and fillings are both capable of repairing damage done to teeth. However, there are differences between the two that could affect which one our dentists recommend during your next appointment.

Deciding between a crown and a filling depends on multiple factors, including cost, length of procedure, durability, and the extent of your tooth’s decay. Our restorative and cosmetic dentists can evaluate your specific case and help you decide whether a filling or a crown is right for you.

Quick Comparison: Crowns vs. Fillings

A dental crown:

  • Treats severe tooth damage or decay
  • Completely covers a damaged or decayed tooth
  • Requires impressions
  • Takes two dental visits
  • Is more expensive

A tooth filling:

  • Treats minor tooth damage or decay
  • Fills in a decayed tooth but does not cover it
  • Doesn’t require impressions
  • Takes one dental visit
  • Is more affordable

When You Need a Crown

If your teeth are severely damaged or decayed, you’re better off spending the extra money for a dental crown. For intensive tooth repair, a filling wouldn’t be capable of properly restoring the tooth to its natural function and appearance.

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.” Since crowns cap your underlying teeth, they are more durable and usually last for longer periods of time than fillings. 

Crowns also help protect the underlying tooth enamel from experiencing further damage and sensitivity. Teeth that have been weakened by repeated restorative dental treatments may also benefit by being fitted for dental crowns. One of our dentists will be able to advise you on whether a crown is necessary for the amount of tooth damage present.

When You Need a Filling

Like the name suggests, cavity fillings are able to fill in small areas in your tooth (i.e., cavities) that have decayed or otherwise been damaged.

Small cavities often call for fillings. If the damage done to the tooth is minimal, you may be able to get away with just having a filling done instead of getting a crown.

Patients tend to prefer fillings over dental crowns because they can be completed within a single visit to our office. Also, unlike with dental crowns, our dentists will not need to take impressions of your teeth in order to do fillings. That means that your treatment will take less time and cost less money.

In addition, tooth fillings preserve as much natural tooth as possible and fill in only those areas that are damaged. White fillings also match the color of your natural enamel, which is perfect for teeth that show when you smile and talk.

Should I Get a Dental Crown or a Tooth Filling?

When deciding the best dental procedure for your tooth, you’ll need to consult with one of our restorative dentists. 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 one of our dentists.

Restore Your Tooth with the Right Procedure

Our Grand Rapids, MI, restorative and cosmetic dentists are dedicated to providing patients with quality dental care. We are proud to offer a range of dental services that include crowns, fillings, dental bridges, and porcelain veneers. Call Contemporary Family Dental at (616) 209-3969, or contact us online to request an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.