If your dentist has suggested that you have a crown placed instead of a filling, you may be balking at the idea. After all, crowns can be more expensive than fillings. However, there is a very good reason why your dentist might suggest the use of a dental crown rather than a standard filling and that’s because dental crowns are so much more than just another type of filling.
Dental crowns provide a special kind of protection
Dental crowns are designed to fit over the whole area of your tooth, providing a complete cover to the tooth. Fillings, on the other hand, are designed to protect a small part of your tooth, usually a spot where decay or other damage has put your tooth at risk of further deterioration.
Both dental crowns and fillings are useful for keeping your teeth healthy but the complete covering of the tooth involved with having a dental crown fitted means that they offer a special kind of protection to the tooth that is over and above that provided by a standard filling.
Cavity size matters in the decision to crown a tooth
If there is a small amount of damage to your tooth, such as a small cavity, a filling will probably be your best option. However, in cases of a larger cavity, a crown or ceramic inlay is likely to be a better solution. This is because a filling replaces the damaged piece of tooth, which is drilled away before the filling is placed. If too much tooth is decayed and needs to be removed by drilling, it can affect the structural stability of the remaining tooth. In these instances, a dental crown is recommended.
With a crown, there is no risk to the structure of the tooth because the entire tooth is encased inside the crown, protected from the force of chewing. The crown acts like a splint that holds the sides of the tooth together so that even if a large area is affected by decay, the structural integrity of the tooth can be maintained.
Crown versus filling – deciding on the most appropriate option
Your dentist’s assessment will consider the size of the cavity and the structural stability of a tooth. From these considerations, a recommendation for a dental crown or filling will be made. If the cavity is small, the dentist will probably suggest a filling. If the cavity is large or on a part of the tooth that makes it difficult to treat without weakening the tooth, the dentist will most likely recommend a dental crown or ceramic inlay.
Fillings can be used in instances of larger cavities but your dentist will assess the likelihood of problems occurring later should the tooth weaken. Your dentist will usually recommend the best treatment option to ensure long lasting protection for your teeth.