Deciding between crowns or fillings can be a difficult choice to make if you find you need restoratives at your next dental checkup. If you have teeth that are chipped, cracked or contain large cavities, repair is obviously necessary, but which option should you choose – less-expensive, faster fillings or longer-lasting, aesthetically pleasing crowns? Following are reasons for and against choosing each of these dental repair options.
When a tooth has a deep cavity or cracking damage, it must be reshaped and returned to its original form. The dentist will remove the softer, decayed portion of the tooth, clean it out, then fill it with composite hardening material. How long the filling lasts depends on its size and location. If the filling is placed on a corner or fills a large space in the tooth, it increases the chance the composite material could break off or act like a wedge and split apart the remaining sides of the tooth.
Fillings are more economical than crowns and treatment can be completed in one visit. While the financial ramifications are important to consider, in the case of larger, more risky fillings, is it worth it to pay more for a crown?
Why Invest in Crowns?
A crown is specially made in a dental laboratory and designed to completely cover the existing tooth. Crowns are form-fitted and cemented firmly onto the remnants of the original tooth. They are not impervious to breaking and cracking, but the chances of it occurring are significantly lessened. When you bite down with teeth that have fillings, the pressure is not distributed evenly. Normally, either the natural tooth or the filling portion takes the brunt of the weight, eventually causing either the tooth’s walls or the filling itself to crack. Crowns are designed to distribute biting pressure evenly across the underlying surface of the remaining portion of the tooth.
Another advantage to choosing a crown is the quality of your smile. Typically crowns are made of porcelain that perfectly matches the color of your remaining teeth. Once the gums adjust to the crown placement, most patients do not notice a difference. Most crowns can last 15 years or more.
Of course, placing a crown is a more involved process than administering a filling. The dentist will take X-rays of the patient’s tooth and jawbone and file down the tooth in preparation for the crown. He or she will take an impression of the tooth and then may place a temporary crown over it while the laboratory creates the new crown – a process that may take a few weeks. After it is complete, the patient returns to get his or her new crown fitted and attached.
While fillings may be best for smaller tooth repairs, crowns may be better for deep, wide cavities and fractures. Contact Oak Hills Dentistry for a personalized consultation on whether crowns or fillings are an ideal dental repair solution for you.