When tooth decay and dental damage are left untreated, they can lead to serious oral health problems, including tooth loss. Fortunately, treatments are available to address the unique dental needs of each patient. Two common treatments for decay and dental damage include dental crowns and fillings. Dental crowns are often the best solution for restoring dental strength and the structure of severely damaged teeth, while dental crowns are better suited for treatment of minor decay. Let's take a closer look at the difference between dental crowns vs. fillings in this overview from Kansas City, MO dentist John P. Goodman.
About Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are used to treat dental caries, commonly known as cavities, caused by tooth decay. The treatment process for dental fillings requires the removal of decayed portions of the tooth. This is usually done with a dental drill. Once decayed portions are removed, the tooth is cleaned and the dental filling is placed.
Dental fillings may be made of one of several different materials, including gold and silver amalgam or tooth-colored options, such as composite resin. Dentists and patients prefer composite resin fillings to traditional metal fillings for the obvious aesthetic benefits, and for the benefits to dental health. Tooth-colored fillings require less of the tooth's structure to be removed for placement than metal fillings, helping to protect the strength of damaged teeth.
About Dental Crowns
A dental crown is a type of restoration that completely encases a damaged tooth. Dental crowns are best suited to teeth with severe damage or large cavities. As with dental fillings, dental crown treatment requires the removal of damaged portions of the tooth. Once damaged portions of the tooth are removed, an impression is made of the tooth. From this impression, a customized dental crown is crafted. Once complete, the dental crown is cemented in place to restore the appearance and strength of the tooth while also preventing further damage.
Unlike dental fillings, which are used only to repair cavities, dental crowns may be used for a number of other dental issues. Dental crowns may also be used to repair broken or chipped teeth, teeth weakened by large fillings or root canal therapy, or may be paired with dental implants to replace missing teeth. Dental crowns may also be used to address aesthetic issues such as irregularly shaped teeth to enhance the overall appearance of the smile.
Determining the Right Treatment
Although dental fillings and dental crowns are used to repair dental damage, prevent further damage, and restore oral health, one treatment will be the better option depending on the needs of the patient. For instance, minor tooth decay is best treated with dental fillings and major decay with dental crowns. Determining which treatment is right for you will depend on your specific dental needs.
Discover Your Treatment Options
It's important to seek treatment for tooth decay and other forms of dental damage early to prevent further damage and protect oral health. If you suffer from dental cavities or other dental issues, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Goodman to learn more about your treatment options.