Crown or filling?

When going to the dentist, it is extremely important to know how much the ordeal will cost, and what to expect, so you can budget. If you have a tooth that hurts, will just a filling be enough, or are you going to need a root canal, possibly even a dental crown? In this article, we wish to walk you through some questions that you should ask yourself to help determine if a crown or a filling will be necessary for your problem.

Inlay, onlay, overlay

Three essential questions:

  • How big is the cavity?
  • Is the tooth structurally compromised?
  • Is any bit of the tooth missing?

If the cavity is big: dental crown or inlay or onlay

Is the cavity large enough that a filling may not do the trick? Can you feel the cavity with your tongue? If you can, it may be a sign that a dental filling is too big, but if the tooth surface is intact, with just a hole in it, an inlay or onlay may do the trick. The position of the cavity is also important, as if it is on a vertical tooth surface, you probably will not need a crown.

If any bit of the tooth is missing: dental corwn

If a chunk of the tooth is already missing, or is badly decayed, and if the cusps are completely gone, you may need to get a dental crown to regain full function of the tooth. If most of the tooth si okay, and a filling can heal the tooth up, then no crowns will be necessary, but teeth that have bits missing cannot be properly filled, and thus must be filed down and a dental crown put on top of them. If a filling is too big, it does not offer as much protection to the teeth and their inner structures as a crown will, and in these cases the dentist will opt to give you a crown instead.

If the tooth is structurally compromised: dental crown

If the structure of the teeth is compromised, then a dental crown will be needed every time. There is an easy way to tell if this is the case: are all of the parts of the tooth there? Are all of the tooth surfaces there, or are some of them gone? Are all of the walls of the teeth present? If you answered yes to all of these, then most likely a filling will be plenty enough. But if the answer is no, then a dental crown may be more desirable, to help save the remains of the tooth for as long as possible, as with a filling, the tooth may crumble further.  
Although a dental crown may seem like more of an investment, in reality, when needed, a dental crown is the cheaper option, as the filling you get will fall out from the damaged tooth, and the tooth may need to be extracted later on, and then a dental implant will be necessary. Of course, only a trained dental professional can tell whether or not a dental crown will be necessary, so you will have to consult with one before getting your final price.   

More informations about tooth fillings and dental crowns

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