Do I Need a Tooth Filling or Crown?

Grand Rapids Dentists

Do I Need a Tooth Filling or Crown?

350 200 Grand Rapids MI Dentist

Do I Need a Tooth Filling or a Crown? Dentist Grand Rapids, MI

Don’t ignore a toothache. Pain in your tooth is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong with your oral health. Depending on the extent of your tooth decay, our dentists may recommend either a tooth filling or a dental crown.

But what are the differences between a filling and a crown? Which procedure is best for your situation? Let’s take a look at the circumstances in which our dentists may recommend a filling or a crown to protect your smile.

What Is a Tooth Filling?

  • Treats minor tooth decay or damage
  • Fills in your tooth
  • Does not require dental impressions

Brushing twice a day and flossing daily helps prevent dental plaque from building up on your teeth and gums. Plaque, which is a thin film of bacteria, causes tooth decay. Untreated dental plaque can form small holes or openings in your teeth. We call these cavities.

Tooth fillings are a great way to treat minor cavities. Our dentists simply remove the decayed tooth matter and fill the hole with composite resin or an amalgam. This procedure is noninvasive, quick, and easy. 

Historically, many tooth fillings were silver or gold. Today, our dentists use composite fillings to match the color of your natural enamel. This means your filling is essentially invisible when you smile and talk. Many of our patients appreciate how subtle our composite fillings are without sacrificing on restoring functionality to your affected tooth.

Fillings don’t last forever, unfortunately. You may need to replace your filling in five to 15 years, depending on the material used to fill your cavity. 

What Is a Dental Crown?

  • Treats severe tooth decay or damage
  • Covers and strengthens tooth
  • Requires dental impressions

If your cavity is too big for a filling, our dentists may recommend a porcelain or CEREC crown to strengthen the tooth.

Once a cavity reaches a certain size, our dentists won’t be able to drill out the decayed tooth matter without compromising the structural integrity of your tooth. Thankfully, a dental crown covers the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line, restoring its natural strength. It also matches the color of your natural tooth enamel, allowing you to smile with confidence again.

While crowns typically last longer than fillings, they do require removal of some tooth enamel. Our dentists will remove enough enamel so the crown fits over your tooth.

Once your tooth enamel is removed, you can never get it back. However, you’re much better off with a dental crown if your tooth has become fragile due to a large cavity or repeated dental procedures. A tooth crown will last you for years to come.

Which One Is Right for You?

If you are unsure whether you need a tooth filling or a dental crown, call our dental office. Our dentists will be more than happy to examine your smile and determine the best treatment plan. We’ll also go over other restorative options, such as dental bridges and dental implants, to determine which method is best for your smile.

Restore Your Smile With a Filling or a Crown

Our Grand Rapids, MI, restorative dentists are dedicated to restoring patients’ smiles with fillings, crowns, or other dental services. Call GR Family Dental today at (616) 455-3020, or contact us online to request an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.