Dental Fillings vs. Crowns (Which is Right for Me?)
If you have a tooth that is decayed or slightly broken, our Clear Lake, Texas dentist may recommend that you get a filling or a crown to repair that part of your smile. Sometimes your dentist can give you a firm treatment plan because, in the case of your tooth, there’s a defining factor for requiring one procedure done rather than the other. However, in some instances, both treatments may be appropriate and the choice is up to you. Understanding the differences between the two options will help you decide which treatment is best for your situation.
Types of Dental Fillings
Fillings work best when your tooth has a small to a medium-sized cavity, a small break, or a crack.
There are two different kinds of fillings: composite, tooth-colored fillings, also known as white or resin fillings. And then there are silver amalgam fillings. These days, the white fillings are placed most frequently, but amalgams still work great in some cases.
Tooth-colored fillings are bonded to your teeth and it’s important that the environment stays dry during the application process. To make sure it does, our dentist may isolate the area by placing a rubber dam sheet around the tooth. Some patients are a fan of this contraption because it keeps the water that comes from the hand-piece out of their mouth. However, other patients find it a bit difficult to swallow with the sheet on, and would rather not have to use it.
After the rubber dam is placed, we’ll remove the cavity and then apply a series of solutions on the tooth to prep it for the filling. The resin material is a putty consistency at first. Our Clear Lake dentist will shape it accordingly and then cure it with a light to harden it to its full strength. After the material is dry, our dentist will check the fit and polish the surface of the new restoration.
After your composite filling procedure, there won’t be any home care restrictions. White fillings are affordable, work well, and can last a long time.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Though they’re not used as often as they once were, silver fillings can be placed in a wet area, so isolation isn’t required ー which is great for people that aren’t fans of the rubber dam or younger patients who may wiggle a little bit more. Also, because of this, amalgams make great fillings for teeth that are very far in the back of the mouth where it can be difficult to isolate and keep the area dry.
To perform this procedure, our dentist will remove your cavity first. Since silver fillings tend to cause a bit more cold sensitivity than white ones, our dentist will likely place a desensitizer on the tooth before inserting the amalgam.
Silver fillings harden on their own, so you’ll need to avoid eating, brushing, or flossing that area for several hours. Amalgams are typically more affordable than composite fillings.
A Dental Crown
A dental crown is a “cap” that goes over your tooth to protect it. Crowns are custom fabricated and can be made from a few different materials such as porcelain (which looks very natural,) metal crowns (which are very strong,) crowns with a metal base and a porcelain outer shell, or zirconia crown, which is also strong like metal except it’s tooth-colored. Our Clear Lake dentist will determine the material that is best to use in your case. If choosing a natural-looking crown, the shade can be custom matched to the color of your other teeth.
For this procedure, we will remove the cavity and then reduce the circumference of your natural tooth to make room for the crown to fit over it. Next, we’ll take an impression of your tooth for our lab to create your permanent crown. It can take about three weeks to get a crown back from the lab, so we’ll make a temporary one for you to wear in the meantime. You’ll come back to have the permanent one bonded in place once it’s ready.
Though crowns do protect your entire teeth, they may not be necessary if you have a smaller area of damage where a filling would suffice.
Family Dentist in Clear Lake
Any time you have dental work that needs to be completed, the team at Rosas Family Dentistry will ensure that all of your questions are answered and concerns are addressed. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.