How are Dental Crowns and Fillings Different?

How are Dental Crowns and Fillings Different?

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How are Dental Crowns and Fillings Different? Dentist Grand Rapids, MIYour dentist may recommend a dental crown or filling depending on the level of damage to your tooth.

Our dentist and the American Dental Association recommend you get your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months. That way, we’re able to catch small cavities or cracks before they grow bigger.

The longer you wait to seek dental care, the more likely you could need a dental crown to restore your tooth.

Is it Better to Get a Crown or Filling?

Each patient is different. Whether you get a crown or filling will depend on the extent of damage done to your tooth.

Dental Crown

  • Treats severe tooth decay or damage
  • Covers and strengthens tooth
  • Requires dental impressions


  • Treats minor tooth decay or damage
  • Fills in tooth
  • No dental impressions needed

Dental Crown

The only way to cure tooth decay is to drill out the cavity before it spreads. If the cavity is too big for a filling, your dentist will recommend a porcelain or CEREC crown to strengthen the tooth. Whether your dentist recommends a filling or crown will depend on the extent of tooth decay.

Once a cavity reaches a certain size, your dentist won’t be able to drill out the decayed tooth matter without compromising the structural integrity of your tooth. Thankfully, a dental crown covers the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line, restoring its natural strength. A ceramic or porcelain crown also matches the color of your natural tooth enamel so you can smile with confidence.

While crowns typically last longer than fillings, they do require your dentist to remove tooth enamel. Your dentist will remove enough enamel so the dental crown fits over your tooth. Once tooth enamel is removed you can never get it back. However, you’re much better off with a dental crown if your tooth has been made fragile by a large cavity or repeated dental procedures. A tooth crown will last you for years to come.


Cavities are caused by untreated dental plaque. If the cavity is small enough, your dentist will recommend you get a filling. Unlike a crown, a cavity filling doesn’t require your dentist to remove healthy tooth structure. Instead, your dentist will only remove what is decayed before filling the hole with composite resin or amalgam. Many of our patients appreciate that a filling is less invasive than a crown.

Since composite fillings match the color of your natural enamel, we recommend them for teeth that show when you smile and talk. During the procedure, your dentist will remove as little tooth enamel as possible to restore your smile. If your teeth are too badly decayed or damaged, your dentist will recommend dental crowns.

Call Precision Family Dental

If you are unsure whether you need a tooth filling or crown, call our dental office. Our dentist will be more than happy to examine your smile and determine the best treatment. The best way to maintain a healthy smile is to never ignore severe tooth pain. Dental pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.

Dr. Adam Piotrowski is a dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. To schedule your appointment for a dental crown or filling, call Precision Family Dental at (616) 949-1570.

This blog post has been updated.