You’re at your dentist office and faced with treatment options for a damaged or broken tooth. What do you do? Filling a cavity could provide all you need to restore your tooth. Perhaps the tooth underwent extensive damage and needs a crown. Who knows? Your dentist certainly knows, but you can too. In this article, Lake Forest dentist Dr. James Fondriest explains when you may need a crown or a filling to restore damaged teeth.
Why a Dental Filling Instead of a Crown?
Both composite fillings and crowns restore a tooth’s shape, but how each option works with your teeth differs. Fillings, as their name implies, fill a missing portion within tooth walls. The strength of a filling depends on the size and shape of the tooth decay. Small, shallow cavities present little threat to the strength of the tooth, and filling the hole with a composite resin can sufficiently strengthen the tooth.
Large or deep cavities make fillings wedge between unbroken portions of tooth. During chewing, pressure can cause walls of teeth to break or crack from the large filling wedge. If the shape of the filling reaches the tooth walls, filling material may not be strong enough to provide a long-lasting restoration.
Crowns cover damaged teeth, instead of filling holes or directly repairing chips. The usual reason for a crown is the tooth has sustained extensive damage. A crown can deliver stronger restoration and have longer results than a filling. The procedure involves removing a small amount of the tooth remaining. After preparation of the damaged tooth, you will receive a temporary crown while an out of office laboratory crafts your permanent crown using impressions of your teeth as a blueprint.
Some patients may resist crowns because some poorly done or really old porcelain fused to metal crowns can have a dark line along gums. Dr. Fondriest offers porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns that employ the tested strength and durability of metal and porcelain, without the unsightly dark lines metal crowns bring. These high quality PFM crowns feature porcelain that extends below the gum line. They look natural while offering extreme durability.
Crowns can be made of many different materials. Dentists try to match the best crown for each treatment situation.
What do I do with a large tooth fracture?
A large fracture may require a root canal or even a tooth loss. If you loose the tooth, then a dental implant would be the ideal fix for optimal oral health.
Treatment decisions vary for each patient
A dentist thinks about multiple factors when deciding between a crown or a filling. Most factors relate to how much tooth structure remains.
- When less than half of the original clinical crown remains, the choice is simple, it should be a dental crown. It is important to include all old existing filling material as lost tooth structure.
- Are you a grinder? If you are hard on your teeth, then a crown may be appropriate with only 40% of the original tooth missing.
- Would a veneer work instead? Sometimes a middle option is a veneer.
- What are the cosmetic needs of the patient? Occasionally, a better esthetic outcome can be achieved with a crown or a veneer.
Want to discuss which is better a crown or a filling?
If you have questions about your long term dental health, visit our dental office to discuss dental treatment options. Whether you’re in need of a PFM crown or a filling, Dr. Fondriest can beautifully restore your teeth. Request an appointment at (847) 234-0517.
Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States