When it comes to maintaining good oral health, dental restorations play a crucial role. Two common dental procedures are tooth fillings and dental crowns. While they both serve the purpose of restoring damaged teeth, they are pretty different in terms of their applications, procedures, and long-term effects. Continue reading to learn more from the team at Martinez Dental Solutions.
What Is a Tooth Filling?
A dental filling is a common procedure used to repair a tooth affected by decay or a minor fracture. It involves removing the damaged or decayed part of the tooth and filling the resulting cavity with a dental material to restore its shape and function. Here are some key points to consider about tooth fillings:
Indications: Fillings are typically used for smaller cavities, minor cracks, or chipped teeth. They are ideal for cases where the damage to the tooth structure is relatively small.
Materials: Fillings can be made from various materials, including amalgam, composite resin, and glass ionomer. The choice of material often depends on factors like the location of the tooth, cosmetic considerations, and the patient’s preferences.
Procedure: The process of getting a filling is relatively straightforward. The dentist numbs the area around the affected tooth, removes the damaged portion, and then fills the cavity with the chosen dental material. The filling is then shaped and polished for a comfortable fit.
Strength and Durability: While fillings are adequate for smaller cavities, they may not provide as much strength and support to a severely damaged tooth as a crown. Over time, they can wear down and may need to be replaced.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown, also known as a dental cap, is a restoration that covers the entire visible portion of a tooth above the gumline. Crowns are used to strengthen and protect a tooth with extensive damage, such as a large cavity, a fracture that compromises the tooth’s integrity, or following a root canal procedure. Here are some key points to consider about dental crowns:
Indications: Crowns are typically recommended when a tooth has suffered significant damage that cannot be effectively repaired with a filling. They provide robust protection and support for the remaining tooth structure.
Materials: Crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination. The choice of material depends on factors like strength, aesthetics, and functional requirements.
Procedure: Getting a dental crown usually involves two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth by removing the damaged or decayed portion and reshaping it to accommodate the crown. They then take impressions for the custom crown fabricated in a dental lab. At the second visit, the crown is placed, checked for fit and bite alignment, and cemented into place.
Strength and Durability: Dental crowns are known for their durability and strength. They can withstand the forces of chewing and biting, making them suitable for heavily damaged or weakened teeth. With proper care, a dental crown can last for many years.