If you have a cavity or crack in a tooth, the circumstances can sometimes make it obvious to your dentist whether a filling or dental crown is the appropriate treatment. Deep but narrow cracks use fillings while significant cusp damage requires a crown. But sometimes the problem is somewhere in the middle where either a filling or a crown can be used.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind if you're trying to decide between a filling and a dental crown. Discuss your options with a professional dentist, like Marc E. Segal, D.D.S., during your next appointment.
Do you have healthy levels of enamel on your teeth and the cavity or crack was simply an anomaly in otherwise good oral health? Or do you have enamel damage that's leading to frequent damage and stains on the actual dentin of the teeth?
If you have healthy enamel, then a filling will best suit your needs. However, those with enamel damage should consider a crown.
Artificial dental crowns fit down over the existing tooth crown and offer a layer of protection against bite force and bacteria. The dentist will have to file down the exterior of your teeth to create a surface for bonding, but the artificial crown will act as your protective enamel once it's attached. You should still practice good oral health around the crown and on the rest of your natural teeth to keep bacteria levels low and enamel health high.
There are a variety of materials used in the construction of dental crowns. Metal crowns are among the strongest but also least natural looking. Porcelain crowns are most natural looking but the least durable. And metal-backed porcelain crowns exist in the middle.
Porcelain crowns are fine for teeth that don't take on a lot of the bite force during chewing. For example, the lateral incisors on the interior side of each canine tooth don't take a lot of impact while chewing hard foods. But porcelain crowns might risk cracking if placed on the molars, which take on most of the bite force.
Fillings inside the tooth aren't exposed to the bite force in the same way as crowns. So a filling – particularly a strong gold or silver amalgam filling – can provide a better treatment on molars, canines, and other bite-heavy teeth.
Fillings tend to be cheaper upfront than a dental crown. Amalgam fillings will last up to 12 years with proper care, which is a decent lifetime cost, and composite (or porcelain) fillings can last up to about 7 years.
Crowns can last up to 15 years with proper upkeep. The extra few years might make the higher upfront cost more justifiable for you, depending on your needs and financial situation.Share
15 June 2015
If you are someone who hesitates to open your mouth when you smile because you are embarrassed about your teeth, you should know that there are a number of cosmetic techniques that can give you a beautiful smile you will be proud to show to the world. As a cosmetic dentist, I have seen many clients transform their lives simply by fixing their smiles. This blog is meant to encourage people to find out about the possibilities in cosmetic dentistry so they can feel good about their smiles. A beautiful, confident smile really can change your life. I would love to show you how.