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Which Should You Choose: Crown or Filling?

Many people have been told “You have tooth decay” at one time or another while sitting in the dentist’s chair. If you have recently heard those words, you may be wondering whether you need a crown or a filling. These dental procedures fall under the general heading of “dental restoration”. When you have tooth decay, your dentist will always suggest dental restoration, so that the structure and appearance of the decayed tooth is restored. Restoring the structure is most important, as that helps prevent tooth loss and other problems. The type of restoration your dentist will prescribe will depend on whether your tooth has a cavity or major decay. In some cases, you may have a choice – so it’s important to know the pros and cons of dental fillings and dental crowns.

Dental Fillings are Least Invasive Restoration Technique

The least invasive dental restoration for tooth decay is the traditional dental filling. Used to fill cavities (also known as dental caries):

  • Dental fillings are prescribed when the tooth does not have major decay or some other problem that requires a more extensive restoration.

Major Restoration Requires a Dental Crown

If you’ve been told you need a crown, you may be wondering if you really need it. Dentists hear this typical question quite often from their patients. The simple answer is this: For major tooth decay and damage, dental crowns are the best possible option.

  • While they can be more expensive, crowns can extend the life of a tooth for years to come.
  • A crown is the best way to fix a cracked tooth, which cannot heal on its own.
  • Crowns provide more structural protection than fillings do when a substantial portion of your tooth is decayed or damaged.
  • Crowns can prevent cracking and breaking in teeth that have old metal fillings that take up 2/3 the width of the tooth or more.

Why Crowns are Often the Optimal Choice

Crowns have some major advantages over fillings.

  • Crowns are made with substantially stronger materials than dental fillings, and therefore are less likely to break.
  • Because they cup over the tooth, crowns are also usually much more secure than a large filling.
  • Even if a crown does come off, it can be easily re-cemented, whereas a filling does not offer this option.
  • A crowned tooth is not as likely to break compared to a tooth with a large filling.

Avoiding Tooth Decay

The best way to ensure that you never need another filling or a crown is to practice excellent oral hygiene by:

  • Brushing for two minutes at least twice every day with a soft bristle toothbrush.
  • Flossing daily or twice daily.
  • Visiting your dentist at least once every six months for a check-up and dental cleaning.
  • Regular dental check-ups can spot little problems before they become bigger problems.

If you would like to learn more about your many options for dental restoration, including dental fillings and crowns, be sure to contact The Schiff Dental Group today.