Dental Crown vs Filling: What’s the Difference?


Did you know that 1 in 4 adults in America has at least one cavity? Poor dental health leads to gum disease and cavities, and it also increases your risk for heart disease and cancer.

If you have a problem with your teeth, you may be wondering whether a crown vs. filling is right for you.

Luckily, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to learn the differences between a dental crown vs. filling and which one will work best for your situation.

What Is a Filling?

Dental fillings are treatments for damaged teeth due to cavities or small cracks. Fillings restore the function and natural shape of your tooth. There are different fillings available depending on how much repair your tooth needs. The most common types of fillings include:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Composite
  • Ceramic
  • Glass ionomer

Gold fillings are the most expensive but last for at least 20 years. Many people get silver fillings as they are inexpensive and resistant to wear and tear.

What Is a Crown?

Dental crowns are caps that fit over your tooth. Crowns are cemented in place and typically cover your entire tooth. Some crowns like 3/4 crowns are made to only cover part of your tooth.

If your cavity is more extensive, you may need a dental crown. Dental crowns are also used to restore broken or chipped teeth.

Dental crowns are made from different materials such as:

  • Metal
  • Porcelain
  • Resin
  • Ceramic
  • A combination of porcelain and metal
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Dental crowns usually last between 5 and 15 years, depending on how much wear and tear they’re exposed to. When you have a crown in place, you’ll need to avoid habits like chewing ice and grinding your teeth.

How to Fix a Broken Tooth

You need to see your dentist as soon as possible when you have a broken or chipped tooth. If you have a small chip due to a cavity or injury, you can usually have it repaired with a dental filling.

Getting a filling is a simple and common procedure and usually takes less than an hour. Your dentist will first examine your mouth, use a local anesthetic to numb the area, and place the filling. Once your filling is in place, you shouldn’t feel any pain or sensitivity.

If your tooth is completely cracked through or has a large chip, you’ll likely need a crown. Your dentist will need to do an x-ray to evaluate the tooth and the surrounding bone. Next, they will reshape your tooth by filing it down to make space for the crown.

Finally, your dentist will make impressions of your tooth to ensure it’s the right size. Once the impression is complete, the crown is cemented in place.

If you don’t have a regular dentist, don’t wait to seek emergency dentistry services. While small chips can usually wait until the next day, a painful and broken tooth needs immediate care.

Crown vs. Filling

Now that you know the differences between a crown vs. filling, you’ll be less nervous about seeing your dentist. Remember, your dental health is key to your physical health and well-being.

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