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Dental Fillings vs. Crowns: What's the Best Option for Restoring My Teeth?

By Bruce Wilderman on March 01, 2016

A smiling woman with beautiful, healthy looking teethTeeth that have been damaged by decay or injury can interfere with daily life, making it difficult to bite or chew, as well as posing a great risk to oral health. Fortunately, restorative treatments, like dental fillings and crowns, can repair dental damage and improve oral health. Although both dental fillings and crowns restore dental health, one may be better suited to your needs than the other. You can discover which treatment is right for you, dental fillings versus crowns, when you schedule a consultation with Philadelphia, PA dentist Bruce Wilderman. In the meantime, learn more about the uses of dental fillings and crowns in this overview.

When Are Dental Fillings Necessary?

Dental fillings are necessary when tooth decay has led to the formation of dental cavities. If left untreated, dental cavities can erode the layers of the teeth, exposing the inner structures and nerve tissues to bacteria and infection. Dental fillings can stop cavities from growing, restoring dental health.

During dental filling treatment, a dental drill is used to remove decayed and damaged portions of the tooth, leaving only healthy areas of the tooth. The tooth is then cleaned and the filling may be placed. Dental fillings can be made of silver amalgam, gold, or tooth-colored composite resin. Tooth-colored fillings are preferred not only for their aesthetic benefits but also because they require less of the tooth's structure to be removed than metal fillings, helping to preserve the integrity and strength of the tooth.

When Are Dental Crowns Necessary?

Dental crowns are necessary when decay is too severe for treatment with dental fillings. Dental crowns can also repair more types of dental damage than dental fillings, including dental fractures, chips, or other damage. This is because dental crowns encase the entire tooth, restoring strength and structure.

Dental crown treatment generally requires two dental visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared by removing any decay or damaged areas. Healthy areas may also be removed in order to allow room for the dental crown to fit on the tooth. Once the necessary portions are removed, the tooth is cleaned and an impression is made. This impression is sent to a dental lab where a customized crown is made. A temporary crown is placed until the crown is finished. When the custom crown is ready, about two to three weeks later, a second dental visit is required to remove the temporary crown and place the finished crown.

Choosing the Most Conservative Treatment

Although dental fillings and crowns are used to treat dental damage, they are not used interchangeably.  Generally the most conservative treatment, the treatment that preserves as much of the natural tooth possible considering the degree of damage, is chosen. With that said, dental fillings are usually used when decay is minor enough to be treated with a filling. If decay or damage is too extensive, a dental crown is often the more suitable treatment.

Find Out Which Treatment Is Right for You

For more information about dental fillings versus dental crowns, or to find out which treatment is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilderman.

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