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When a Crown is Better Than a Filling

Posted on 1/10/2017 by Dr. Hallas
A diagram of how a dental crown works.When your tooth suffers damage, be it from decay or a crack or break, it needs to be fixed, to prevent further deterioration or even tooth loss.

Two common ways to protect the integrity of weakened teeth are crowns or fillings. While both are excellent at what they do, sometimes a crown is a better option.

What are Crowns and Fillings?

A crown is a "cap" that covers the whole tooth, usually made from ceramic, although it can be made out of metal or porcelain fused to metal. It protects a weakened tooth, holding it together and sealing out bacteria and other contaminants. A filling, on the other hand, goes inside the tooth, filling cavities left by tooth decay or spaces left by cracks or breaks.

Weakened Tooth

When a significant amount of damage is done to the tooth, it is understandably weakened. To protect and strengthen the tooth, a crown is a much better option, as it covers the whole tooth. Fillings don't offer the same structural support, and can actually cause more harm. Fillings are better for small damage and the tooth is still mainly whole.

Large Cracks
Fractures in teeth don't heal. Fillings can fix small cracks well and don't require as much preparation and grinding, but when the crack extends all the way down to the gum line, a crown is better at holding the tooth together. It also strengthens the tooth. Fillings can actually create a wedge that, is too much force is exerted, can actually cause further damage.

Root Canals

A root canal is performed when infection has set in the pulp of the tooth. In this procedure, the pulp and root are removed and the area cleaned. It is then filled and sealed to prevent bacteria and other contaminants from entering the space. A crown is a much better option to sealing a root canal and keeps the tooth strong.

Repairing a cracked or decayed tooth should not be put on hold. If your tooth has suffered a significant amount of damage, contact our office to find out if a crown is right for you.

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