When Is a Crown Recommended Versus a Dental Filling?

When Is a Crown Recommended Versus a Dental Filling?

Posted by SmileFresh Dental on Jul 27 2020, 12:50 AM

A dental filling or a crown can be used to restore a tooth that has been damaged by tooth decay. Fillings are typically recommended when decay has led to cavities forming on your teeth. Crowns are used when the damage to the tooth is too extensive for a dental filling or an onlay/inlay. Crowns are multifunctional restorations that restore the appearance of damaged teeth and protect them against bite forces, acids, and bacteria in the mouth.

Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria converting sugars in the mouth from food into acids that destroy enamel. As the enamel erodes, small holes called cavities begin to form on teeth surfaces. These holes will expand continuously when left untreated until it leaves the tooth's pulp chamber compromised. The nerves and blood vessels in the pulp chamber are exposed to bacteria and irritants in the mouth, which leaves the tooth vulnerable to infection.

An infected tooth or a tooth with a compromised pulp chamber typically requires a root canal to treat it. The tooth can then be covered with a crown to protect it from further damage. Crowns can also be used to address tooth decay even if the tooth's pulp chamber is not compromised. At times, a severely decayed tooth needs a crown to prevent it from breaking apart.

How a dental filling or crown is used to treat tooth decay

The first step toward treating a patient with decayed teeth is evaluating the extent of the damage already present on their teeth. A visual inspection, dental probes, and X-rays might be used to make this assessment.

The dentist will then determine what type of restoration works best for the patient. Crowns and fillings are not the only options that the dentist has to work with. An onlay or inlay might be recommended if the damage to the tooth is not severe enough to warrant a crown but is too large to be treated with a filling. Here is what patients should expect when getting a crown or dental filling for their decayed tooth.

1. Crowns

The installation of a crown requires the dentist to remove enamel from all sides of the tooth. This leads to a better fit with the crown. Due to this, dentists typically will not recommend a crown for tooth decay, since that would lead to more enamel than necessary being removed.

Once the tooth has been prepped for the crown, the dentist will take an impression of it and send it to a dental lab. It takes about two weeks for the customized crown to get to the dentist. The patient gets a temporary crown for the meantime. When the customized crown is ready, the dentist takes off the temporary crown and cements the custom crown in place.

2. Fillings

Fillings are directly applied to decayed teeth and harden on contact. Dentists remove decayed material from the affected tooth, and the filling is poured in. It hardens when exposed to air and saliva. The process is typically completed during a single visit.

Stop tooth decay in its tracks

Call or visit our Auburn Hills clinic to learn more about how restorations like crowns and fillings can be used to fight tooth decay.


Request an appointment here: https://www.smilefreshdentalauburnhills.com or call Smile Fresh Dental at (248) 260-2927 for an appointment in our Auburn Hills office.

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3231 South Blvd
Auburn Hills, MI, 48326

Smile Fresh Dental: Auburn Hills

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