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When Do You Need a Crown vs a Filling?

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The advances in cosmetic dentistry have resulted in multiple helpful procedures to help you reach your smile goals. Your dental professional is well equipped to perform dental procedures such as crowns and fillings, but navigating through when you need different procedures can be confusing. 

Let’s look at what crowns and fillings are, including how to differentiate between when you need a crown or a filling. 

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a cap for your damaged teeth and can be made from various materials, including metal or porcelain. Crowns are designed to match your other teeth and cover any cracked, severely worn down teeth. 

Other materials used for dental crowns include: 

  • Ceramic
  • Zirconia
  • Composite resin
  • A combination of materials

When considering the suitable material for your crown, your dental professional will consider all factors, including: 

  • The location of your tooth
  • How much of your tooth will show when you smile
  • Colour of your surrounding teeth
  • How much of your natural tooth is remaining

When you want your new smile as soon as possible, same-day crowns are an option your dental professional will consider. 

CEREC Same-Day Crowns

CEREC same-day crowns are crafted in-office and offer a significantly quicker method to place your new crown. Your dental professional will use computer-aided design and manufacturing to take digital images of your tooth and jaw. Your crown will then be designed, created, and inserted in-office. 

A CEREC crown tends to look more natural and resemble your surrounding teeth, so people in your life may not even notice you have a new crown. The CEREC crown is reliable and tends to be sturdy and resist damage. 

CEREC same-day crowns can be a great option when you’re in a hurry and need your tooth covered. Consult your dental professional today to see if CEREC crowns are suitable for you. 

A woman at her dentist getting a dental filling

What Is a Dental Filling

A dental filling is a common procedure used to treat small holes or cavities in your tooth. Your dental professional will remove the decayed tooth tissue and fill the space in with a filling material to repair a cavity. 

Visiting your dental professional for regular dental check-ups can help find cavities and determine if you need a filling or not. 

Some warning signs of a cavity include:

  • Teeth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Sensitivity to sugary foods and drinks
  • Ongoing toothache
  • A hole or pit in your tooth

A filling can help prevent further decay, and generally, the procedure takes less than an hour to perform. While a larger filling may take longer, many dental offices have the latest technology to accelerate the process. 

Fillings can be made from various materials—some of the most widely used options include: 

  • Silver-colour fillings
  • White tooth-colour fillings
  • Gold fillings
  • Glass ionomer fillings
  • Porcelain fillings

Dental fillings are a very common procedure to deal with cavities and their discomfort. 

Getting a Crown Vs a Filling

Deciding between a crown and a filling comes down to what your teeth need. Fillings deal with small holes in your teeth due to cavities or other decay. If your tooth has a cavity that’s too large for a filling, your dentist may recommend a crown as an alternative to protect your tooth. 

It’s essential for you to discuss your options with your dental professional. There may be a chance you’ll be able to opt for a filling instead of a crown. It all depends on the size of the cavity and how effective each procedure will be in preserving your teeth. 

Dental crowns and fillings both last for quite a long time following your procedure, depending on materials. For example, the lifespan of a crown can vary between 5 and 15 years, but with stronger materials, it can last longer. 

The lifespan of fillings also depends on the material used, but in general

  • Amalgam fillings last 5 to 25 years
  • Composite fillings last 5 to 15 years
  • Gold fillings last 15 to 20 years

Everyone’s teeth and lifestyle are different, so it’s essential to consult with your dental professional to determine the right procedure for your dental needs.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Oral hygiene is a constant process that involves maintenance and ensuring you’re practicing healthy dental hygiene habits. Crowns and fillings can help you repair cracked and damaged teeth and serve different dental needs.

Book an appointment with your dental professional today for more information and learn which procedure is right for you.

Written by Dr. Christopher Blair

Dr. Christopher Blair completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree at the University of Toronto. He is an avid cyclist and has often combined his passion for cycling with charitable endeavours. Most notably, Dr. Blair is passionate about his efforts to raise funds to support kids living with cancer and who are cancer survivors. Through his participation in Tour for Kids, Dr. Blair has raised thousands of dollars to support Camp Trillium, Camp Quality, and Camp Oochegeas, 3 camps in the Toronto area that support kids living with cancer.

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