Crown or Filling? We’ve Got the Scoop on Your Frequently Asked Questions

Dental crown vs. filling

Cavities are more common than many of us like to believe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 have had a cavity in their adult teeth. And, one in four adults has at least one cavity. Cavities are caused when the bacteria in your mouth turns into plaque, and that plaque is not adequately removed through brushing, flossing, or regular visits to the dentist. 

If you have a cavity or a broken tooth, it needs to be treated. Leaving it untreated can cause more serious dental issues down the road, including tooth loss. Your dentist in Lawton, Oklahoma, will treat it with either a crown or a filling. But what’s the difference between the two, and why might your Lawton family dentistry team use one over the other? We’ve got the inside scoop.

What are dental crowns and fillings?

Dental crowns and fillings are two ways your dentist can fix cavities. Here’s what you need to know about them:

  • Fillings: A filling is used to patch a small hole in your tooth. If a tooth is damaged, your dentist will clean out the affected part and fill it in, keeping the rest of the tooth safe and strong.
  • Crowns: Crowns sit on top of damaged teeth. When a tooth has a lot of decay or is really damaged, a crown covers it up. It protects the tooth.

Getting a crown involves covering your whole tooth with a special cover after cleaning out any decay or broken areas of the tooth. With a filling, the dentist removes the decay and fills the spot to stop more damage.

Don’t wait to see your dentist if you have a cavity. Catching tooth decay early means simpler fixes. Your dentist will check your tooth to see if a filling or crown is best for you.

The Pros and Cons of Crowns

As we shared, crowns are used for more extensive situations of tooth decay. At Sheppard Family Dental Care, we offer e.max and zirconia crowns. Here are some of the pros and cons of dental crowns that you can anticipate.

Pros of Crowns:

  • Strong protection: Crowns cover your entire tooth, offering solid protection against further decay.
  • Long-lasting: With proper care, crowns can last many years, keeping your smile healthy. Most crowns last five to 15 years.
  • Look like real teeth: They’re made to look just like your natural teeth. No one needs to know you have a crown unless you tell them.
  • Fixes large cavities: A crown can save your tooth when a cavity is too big for a filling.
  • Supports damaged teeth: Helps teeth that are cracked, worn down, or otherwise weakened.

Cons of Crowns:

  • More expensive: Crowns cost more than fillings because they require more work and materials. However, most of the cost will be covered if you have dental insurance. You can also use CareCredit to ensure you can afford your care.
  • Tooth preparation: Getting a crown means your dentist needs to shape your existing tooth, which can be extensive.
  • Possible sensitivity: After getting a crown, your tooth might be sensitive to hot or cold for a while.
  • Risk of damage: While strong, crowns can sometimes chip or break and need replacement.
  • Two-visit procedure: Usually, getting a crown takes at least two visits to the dentist, making it a longer process.

The Pros and Cons of Dental Fillings 

Dental fillings are typically used for smaller amounts of tooth decay. Here are the pros and cons you should know about.

Pros of Dental Fillings:

  • Quick fix: Fillings can usually be done in one visit and take less than 15 minutes.
  • Less expensive: Compared to crowns, fillings are more budget-friendly.
  • Prevents further decay: Fillings stop decay from spreading by filling in the decayed area.
  • Minimal tooth removal: Only the decayed part of the tooth is removed, keeping most of your natural tooth intact.
  • Variety of materials: Most dentists today use materials that match the color of your natural teeth.

Cons of Dental Fillings:

  • Not for large cavities: Fillings aren’t unsuitable for large cavities or severe tooth damage.
  • May need replacement: Over time, fillings can wear down and may need to be replaced. (However, when properly cared for, they can often last ten years or more).
  • Possible discomfort: Some people might feel sensitivity or discomfort after getting a filling, but it usually goes away within a few weeks.
  • Can leak or crack: Although rare, fillings can leak or crack, which could lead to further decay if not addressed.
  • Looks less natural: While some fillings match your tooth color, they may not look as natural as your own teeth.

If you have a cavity, Sheppard Family Dental Care will treat your teeth with a dental crown or filling.

We hope that we have effectively answered some of your frequently asked questions about dental crowns and fillings. If you are experiencing tooth decay, the good news is that you don’t have to decide between a dental crown and a filling. When treated by the best dentist in Lawton, we’ll ensure that the right treatment is used based on your dental situation. We’re experts in restorative dentistry, and we will ensure your smile is restored, happy, and healthy. Request an appointment with Sheppard Family Dental Care today.