Skip to main content

Restoring Cavities: Fillings or Crowns?

A photo of a tooth with a silver dental crown.We all have experienced that familiar, dull soreness in our mouths before; and then the thought pops into our heads, I have a cavity. Hopefully, you’ll have called your dentist to make an appointment to take care of that as soon as possible so you can comfortably eat and drink without triggering cavity pain. Dr. Shen of Smile by Design explains why a root canal and replacing the compromised tooth with a crown may be better than filling the cavity.

Fillings Chip while Crowns Protect!

Unlike dental crowns or caps, cavity fillings have a tendency to crack over time from normal wear and tear. There has even been an instance where one of our patients had to come back for us to redo the filling because they had eaten a sticky candy that pulled it right out! This is why we prefer using a crown instead because it stays in place for a long-lasting result and looks just like your natural-born teeth without the obvious filling material standing out against your enamel. Sometimes dentists may choose to use a silver amalgam while others use a porcelain color, yet the white color still looks unnatural to the naked eye.

Fillings are temporary!

While a filling may be the cheaper option initially, it can easily be taken out by a sticky candy or crack from wear and tear over time. They often need to be replaced throughout the years and eventually, the tooth will continue to crack until it requires something more permanent to restore and protect the tooth from further damage.

This is where dental crowns come in. Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials, from metal, to stainless steel, to porcelain-fused-to-metal, to all-resin, to all-ceramic or all-porcelain, to zirconia, and more. Each material has a different strength, texture, color, and stability so it is really up to you and your dentist whether or not to pick an all-ceramic crown to match the rest of your smile or to pick a metal if the crown will rest in the back of the mouth.

If you wait to get a cavity filled or repaired, one of a few things can happen:

  1. Nothing! Your tooth is stronger than we thought!
  2. The tooth could chip and require a simple repair.
  3. The tooth could crack and require a crown.
  4. The tooth could split which would require crown lengthening or an extraction of that tooth.
  5. The nerve is affected and inflamed and a root canal is needed.

Number five is especially possible if you leave your cavity untreated. When the cavity grows, the infection can spread and make the pulp of the tooth (the pulp is the center of the tooth that is composed of nerves and tissues) very sensitive to extreme temperatures such as hot or cold, and even pressure from the jaw.

Contact Us To Fix Your Cavities!

If you have been experiencing a soreness or pain while drinking tea or eating ice cream, you may have a cavity that has affected the rest of the tooth. To find out what we can do to restore that tooth, contact our office in Mountain View, CA to schedule your consultation with Dr. Shen. We know how uncomfortable a cavity can be while eating, drinking, and talking; we can’t wait to help take that pain away!