A question I get asked by patients daily is “do I need a crown, or could I get away with a filling?” Patients believe that the less invasive option is always better, so why not try a filling first instead of a dental crown. There are several reasons why a filling might not be the best option. It’s important to first understand the function of both a tooth filling and a dental crown.
A tooth filling, or cavity filling, removes dental decay and then fills the tooth with a composite material that seals the area. The filling protects the area from trapping food debris and bacteria to prevent future tooth decay. The key to a strong filling is having enough tooth structure to drill into the tooth to remove decay without compromising the integrity of the tooth.
A dental crown is also placed when a tooth has decay but can be used for teeth that are cracked or structurally unsound. Like a filling, decay must be removed before the crown is placed. Sometimes this is with drilling and other times a root canal is required. The tooth is then filed down and the crown is placed over the tooth like a cap to restore its shape, size, strength and appearance.
When walking patients through their options, I often talk about the tooth being a basket. If the contents of the basket are too heavy or large for the basket to hold, it will collapse. In this scenario, we’re talking about a filling that is too big for the tooth and does not leave enough natural tooth structure to maintain the integrity of the tooth.
You also must consider the stress that is being placed on the basket. If you’re standing on it – or chewing with that tooth – it may not withstand the pressures of everyday use.
In both scenarios a dental crown is the best option because it provides a better long-term solution. Sure, you could get away with a filling, but it might not be for long, and you’ll eventually need a crown or worse, an implant.
A Third Option – BioClear
Today, another has also entered this conversation – BioClear. BioClear offers patients a new, less-invasive option to address single tooth dentistry such as black triangles, diastema, enamel loss and more.
In the case of deciding between a filling or a crown, BioClear provides a third option that comes after a filling and before a crown. That is because BioClear can contain the tooth like a crown, but not in all cases. For instance, if we remove the existing filling and see that there is a crack in the tooth that is getting close to the nerve, a crown is the best option.
A BioClear restoration can also be repaired if it fails. If a crown fails, it must be redone and, in some cases, replaced with an implant.
With all three treatment options, our goal remains the same – to keep your teeth until you’re 100. In talking over our options, I promise that I will do what’s in your best interest to help us achieve this goal.
Which procedure is right for you?
Have questions about whether a tooth filling, dental crown or BioClear restoration is right for you? Schedule an appointment with our dentist office in Brandon, FL. We’ll be happy to go over your treatment needs and establish a plan that works for you.