When someone is visiting Florida on vacation and their waiter asks if they want a Dole Pineapple Whip or a slice of key lime pie for dessert, the tourist may want to know the ingredients before they choose between these two Sunshine State heavyweights.
It’s no different when it’s time for a dentistry decision – you’re going to want to know the details of your treatment options to confidently make a selection. Take dental crowns and tooth-colored fillings, for example. Keep reading to learn the difference between dental crowns and fillings!
Extent of the Damage Matters for Crowns Vs. Fillings
The main difference between crowns and fillings lies in the severity of the tooth decay or damage that needs to be repaired in the tooth. Dental fillings are used for relatively minor tooth decay resulting in cavities.
Dental crowns are reserved for instances where tooth decay is more severe, requiring more than just a simple dental filling, or when damage – chipping, cracking, or breaking – has occurred to a tooth. If a tooth is severely damaged above the gum line, but the root is still viable, your dentist may recommend a crown.
Both options are designed to preserve the health of an already decayed or damaged tooth. By addressing the decay, it can be halted, and the remaining portion of the healthy tooth can be preserved.
Understanding Your Material Options
Dental crowns are typically made of porcelain or ceramic and customized to fit over the entire tooth. Dental fillings are usually either made of amalgam, porcelain, composite resin, or gold. When a tooth develops a small cavity, your dentist might drill around it to remove the infected area and then fill it.
Caring for Your Crowns or Fillings
Crowns do not require any additional care beyond standard brushing, flossing, and mouthwash to typically last for 5-15 years.
Patients with fillings are advised to avoid especially hot or cold foods, as well as anything sticky or chewy. When it comes to brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, you are advised to ask your dentist about specific brands that might best fit your needs.
Your choice between crowns and fillings will likely be dictated by the level of damage the teeth in question are facing, but a consultation with your dentist is always best so that you can make an informed decision!
About the Author
Dr. Natasha Patel was headed down the path of dentistry from a young age after growing up in the waiting room of her father’s dental practice. Her dental studies culminated at the prestigious Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale. She has a philanthropic project in an underserved area of India where a hospital is built to provide free medical and dental treatment to those who cannot afford it. Dr. Patel strives to bring that same compassion to her dental practice. To schedule an appointment with her for fillings, crowns, or perhaps another restorative dentistry option, visit her website or call (904) 278-9011.