Dentists have a variety of options when it comes to repairing a damaged tooth, including both crowns and fillings. Which of these common treatments is best for a given situation depends on the extent of the damage, the health status of the tooth, and other factors. Here’s what dental patients need to know about the differences between crowns and fillings.
For teeth with minimal to moderate damage, fillings may be sufficient to prevent further decay and protect the remaining tooth. With fillings, the dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth, cleans the remaining tooth, and places the filling to fill the gap and keep food from getting trapped, which can cause bacterial growth. Fillings can be made from amalgam, porcelain, gold, or a composite resin that mimics the teeth’s natural appearance. While fillings can effectively seal a damaged tooth, they don’t provide the additional stability that crowns offer. Composite fillings can also be used to fill in small gaps and chips in the teeth.
Crowns are used alone or in conjunction with fillings to treat severe tooth decay. A crown is a prosthetic tooth molded from ceramic or porcelain to fit over the remaining portion of the existing tooth. When a tooth is badly decayed, weak, or broken, the placement of a crown keeps the patient’s bite stable and protects the affected tooth and surrounding teeth from further damage. Crowns can also be used to support a very large filling or to support a bridge, which replaces a missing tooth or teeth. When the structure of the tooth itself is compromised, a crown may prevent the need for extraction.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can help prevent cavities that require treatment with crowns and fillings. Dr. Dhaliwal and his staff are committed to preventative dental care to remedy these issues before they digress. To assess the health of your teeth, request an appointment for a routine checkup today by filling out our contact form or calling (925) 244-9770.