August 3, 2020 Frank P. Ruffino DDS

dental crowns vs fillings dentists shelby township mi

Dental Crowns vs. Fillings

First, it’s important that you understand that one procedure isn’t inherently better than the other. Our goal is to always save as much natural tooth structure as possible while also thinking of the patient’s long-term health. This means that whether our dentists recommend a dental crown or filling will depend on the extent of damage to the tooth.

Here are some of the main factors you should consider when comparing dental crowns to fillings.

How Damaged is the Tooth?

Ultimately, whether you need a dental crown or a filling will depend on the extent of damage to the tooth. For example, we’ll most likely recommend a filling to restore a tooth with a small cavity. That way, we’ll preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible.

If you have a large cavity, an equally large filling would compromise the structural integrity of the tooth. In this situation, a dental crown may be more appropriate to restore the tooth’s strength and appearance. Our dentists may also recommend a dental crown if a tooth has a large crack that makes it fragile and prone to further breakage.

How Much Tooth Structure Can Be Preserved?

A filling is less invasive than a dental crown because we don’t have to remove as much natural tooth structure. Instead, we only remove the cavity before we fill the hole with composite resin. Fillings are minimally invasive and perfect for restoring teeth with small cavities.

Dental crowns are different because we have to remove more of your natural tooth structure to place them. During the procedure, we have to file down your tooth so the crown will fit over top. Otherwise, the dental crown will make your tooth look large and bulky compared to the rest of your teeth.

How are Direct and Indirect Restorations Different?

A filling is sometimes called a “direct” restoration because the composite resin is applied directly to your tooth. One of our dentists then molds the resin so it fills the hole and blends seamlessly with the rest of your tooth.

A dental crown is an “indirect” restoration because it’s made in either a lab or our in-office milling machine. Once the crown is made, our dentist will then make sure the crown fits snugly against your tooth and matches the color of your natural enamel. Once the dentist is satisfied with how the crown looks, they’ll bond it to your tooth.

Compared to fillings, the dental crown procedure is “indirect” because the crown is made ahead of time as opposed to being molded directly onto your teeth.

How Long Do the Procedures Last?

In our office, both dental crowns and fillings are done in one appointment.

While the dental crown procedure traditionally takes two appointments, our dentists use CEREC to plan and place your dental crown in one day. Instead of waiting on a dental lab to create your new crown, we mill CEREC crowns right in our office.

This is a game-changer because it means you don’t have to wear a temporary crown over your tooth while you wait on a third party to make your permanent restoration.

Temporary crowns have the tendency to slip because dentists use a weak cement to bond it in place. That way, they’re able to remove it later when your permanent restoration is ready. With CEREC, you get a permanent dental crown in one appointment so you can skip this inconvenience.

During your appointment, we use CEREC to take digital impressions of your teeth. Those impressions are then sent to the milling machine in our office that sculpts your dental crown from a ceramic block. This ceramic will be an exact color match to the rest of your teeth so you can enjoy a natural-looking smile.

Request an Appointment With Us

Are you experiencing any dental pain or discomfort? If so, don’t hesitate to call our office as soon as possible. Depending on the factors we discussed earlier in this blog post, you may need either a filling, dental crown, or other procedure altogether to protect your oral health. But you won’t know for sure until you schedule an appointment with our office.

Our dentists in Shelby Township, MI, would be more than happy to go over your options for restorative dental care. To request an appointment, call Frank P. Ruffino DDS at (586) 799-4240.

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