Dental crowns change the shape, size, and color of your teeth, thus giving your smile a flattering refresh and adding extra durability in the process. However, sometimes crowns get confused with tooth fillings. We understand the confusion! Both procedures help restore your smile, but they’re not interchangeable. While your family dentist can help with a minor filling, we at DICE Dental specialize in dental crowns and use technology your regular dentist may not have. Here’s how to tell whether you need a dental crown.

Crowns vs Fillings: What’s the Difference

First, we should outline the difference between these two treatments. In short, a crown is a longer procedure meant to treat severe damage or tooth decay and prevent it from worsening. Your existing tooth is filed down and the outer portion removed. Then, we take a digital impression and create a ceramic crown that we place over the remaining part of your tooth. This usually takes two visits to complete.

A tooth filling is a minor dental procedure that eliminates decay before it develops into something more serious. During this procedure, the decayed portion of your tooth is drilled out to prevent the decay from spreading. Then, a composite resin fills the opening. Other differences include:

Dental Crowns Tooth Fillings
Covers the entire tooth and restores structural integrity Fills in the tooth
Requires dental impressions No dental impressions needed
More invasive (tooth enamel is removed) Less invasive (only decayed tooth matter is removed)

It’s important to note: take care of cavities early! If you let even minor tooth decay spread to neighboring teeth, you’re more likely to have the risk of infection or severe damage that requires dental crowns or even dental implants.

When Do You Need a Dental Crown?

Most patients turn to us for dental crowns for one of two reasons: a damaged or decaying tooth is causing them severe pain, or misshapen or discolored teeth are interfering with their confidence. From appearance to oral health, the benefits of dental crowns are wide-ranging. They can:

  • Hold together the pieces of a decaying or fractured tooth, preventing further damage.
  • Restore an already broken tooth.
  • Support a large tooth filling or root canal.
  • Cover misshapen, worn, or discolored teeth.

Unlike the rest of the bones in your body, a cracked tooth won’t heal itself. As a result, a crown will help stabilize the crack and keep it from getting worse. If you have tooth pain, it is worth visiting a dentist to determine whether the pain you’re feeling is a severe crack rather than a possible cavity.

Sometimes patients come to us with craze lines. These are hairline cracks that are more cosmetic and do not typically require crowns. They don’t lead to pain or swelling but are more noticeable if you drink a lot of soda or coffee. However, if you notice deep discoloration surrounding the craze lines, this could mean the hairline crack is growing more severe.

Request a Free Consultation at DICE Dental

Here at DICE Dental in Bethlehem Township, we offer free consultations to help patients determine whether they need a dental crown. And with digital x-rays, impressions, 3D printing, and more, we can ensure your crown blends in seamlessly with your natural teeth. Crowns in Bethlehem are made in-house using our CEREC milling machine. This means we have complete control over the crown’s look and feel. Request a consultation with us today to get out of pain and back to smiling.