Serene Dental Spa

Weddington Dentist Shares the Difference Between Dental Fillings and Crowns

Dental cavity fillings and crowns in Weddington, near Wesley Chapel and Waverly, NC.

Your teeth are incredibly tough, but like anything else, they can chip, crack, or develop cavities. When this happens, our dental fillings and crowns in Weddington, near Wesley Chapel and Waverly, NC, can be valuable tools in restoring your smile’s health and function. But what’s the difference between the two, and how do you know which one you need? Keep reading as we discuss the differences between these dental restoration options to help you determine when each procedure is appropriate and what to expect during treatment.

What Are Dental Fillings

Think of a filling as a patch for a leaky tire. Our family dentists in Weddington, near Wesley Chapel and Waverly, NC, use fillings to repair cavities, small cracks, or worn-down tooth surfaces. They remove the tooth’s decayed or damaged area and fill the cavity with a biocompatible material. This restores the tooth’s strength, shape, and function, preventing further damage and keeping you pain-free.

Types Of Dental Fillings

There are several types of dental fillings available, each with its own advantages. Here are the most common ones:

  • Silver amalgam fillings: These traditional fillings are known for their affordability and excellent durability. However, they contain mercury and are quite noticeable due to their dark color (silver-like appearance).
  • Composite resin fillings: These tooth-colored fillings are popular for their aesthetics and durability. They blend seamlessly with your natural teeth and are a good option for fillings in visible areas.
  • Glass ionomer fillings: These fillings release fluoride, which helps strengthen the surrounding tooth structure. They are often used for fillings near the gum line or on baby teeth. However, they are weaker than silver amalgam and composite resin fillings, more prone to fracture, and susceptible to wear.
  • Gold fillings: Cast gold fillings are very durable, but they are the most expensive option. While they do not offer a natural look, some patients find them more aesthetically pleasing than silver amalgam fillings.
  • Ceramic fillings: Composed of porcelain, ceramic fillings provide a natural look and are more resistant to staining than composite material. They also offer great durability but can cost as much as gold.

What Is A Dental Crown?

Imagine a crown as a tiny, custom-made hat for a damaged tooth. Unlike fillings, which go inside the tooth, a crown completely encases the entire visible portion of the tooth above the gumline to restore its function, shape, size, and appearance.

Types Of Dental Crowns

Tooth crowns come in various materials, each offering a balance of aesthetics, durability, and cost. They include:

Metal crowns: These are made from gold alloy, palladium, or a base-metal alloy such as nickel or chromium. Metal crowns are durable and can withstand heavy chewing and biting forces. However, their metallic color makes them less suitable for visible teeth.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFM): These combine the strength of metal with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain. They look natural and are often used for front or back teeth. However, the porcelain can chip or break over time.

All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns: These crowns offer the best natural color match and are an excellent choice for people with metal allergies. They are less durable than metal crowns but ideal for front teeth.

Resin crowns: These crowns are made from composite resin. They are less expensive and less durable than other types of dental crowns. They are more prone to wear and fractures and are often used to make temporary crowns.

When Are Teeth Fillings Or Crowns Required?

The choice between a filling and a crown depends on the extent and location of the tooth damage. Here’s a general guideline:

  • Tooth fillings are suitable for small cavities, minor cracks, or worn-down tooth surfaces. They are the first line of defense against cavities and are typically used when most of the tooth structure remains intact.
  • Tooth crowns are necessary when a tooth is significantly damaged, decayed, or weakened. This can occur after root canal treatment, a large filling compromises the tooth structure, or extensive decay that makes a filling inadequate. Our dentists in Weddington can also use dental crowns to cover a dental implant, hold a dental bridge in place, strengthen your tooth, protect it from decay, and improve its appearance.

How Long Do Dental Fillings Or Crowns Last?

Dental fillings typically last between 5 to 15 years or even longer with proper care. Factors like the filling material, oral hygiene practices, and dietary habits can influence their lifespan.

Crowns generally last longer. They can last up to 30 years or more, depending on the material used and how well you care for them.

What About The Cost?

Dental crown and tooth cavity filling costs vary based on the type of material used. Dental fillings are typically less expensive than crowns. Dental insurance can help offset some of the costs associated with these procedures, so be sure to check with your provider to understand your coverage.

What To Expect From A Tooth Crown or Filling Procedure

Both fillings and crowns are typically performed under local anesthesia to ensure a painless and comfortable experience. Here’s a basic breakdown of what to expect:

Tooth or cavity filling: This procedure is usually straightforward. Your dentist will numb the area, remove the decay or damaged tooth structure, clean the cavity, and fill it with the material of your choice. The entire process can be completed in a single visit.

Dental crown: The crown placement process usually requires multiple appointments. During your first visit, your dentist will prepare your tooth for the crown by removing some enamel and taking an impression of the tooth and surrounding teeth. This impression is sent to a dental lab where your custom crown will be fabricated.

In the meantime, a temporary crown will be placed to protect your tooth. During the second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and securely cement the permanent crown onto your tooth.

Dr. Tran and Dr. Javed, our reliable family dentists in Weddington, near Wesley Chapel and Waverly, NC.

Restore Your Smile with Dental Fillings and Crowns in Weddington, NC

Serene Dental Spa offers dental fillings and crowns in Weddington, near Wesley Chapel and Waverly, NC, to restore damaged teeth and keep your smile healthy and functional. If you’re experiencing toothache, sensitivity, or visible damage or need help determining your best tooth restoration option, schedule an appointment now for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Remember, early intervention is key to preventing minor issues from progressing into more serious problems requiring crowns or other expensive and extensive treatment procedures.

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