Almost everyone experiences some degree of tooth decay or dental damage at one point or another. While decay compromises the health and strength of the teeth, there are numerous dental treatments available to restore tooth structure.
Fillings and dental crowns are two of the most commonly performed restorative dentistry treatments that address decay to rebuild damaged teeth. Here, Dr. James Altomare discusses the key differences between dental crowns and fillings, as well as how he decides which dental treatment is best-suited to patients from Skillman, NJ, Montgomery, NJ, Princeton, NJ, and surrounding areas.
Fillings are a highly relied upon restorative dentistry treatment. Most dental patients will receive at least one filling during their life. Fillings literally “fill” small holes or worn down areas that are left by tooth decay. Fillings restore the structure of the tooth and seal off the inner layers of the tooth to prevent infection or further dental complications.
Fillings are available as a metal restoration or in composite material. Composite fillings are matched to the natural color of the tooth, so they are preferred in most cases. Whether a patient receives a metal filling or a tooth-colored filling, the process is the same. Damaged tooth structure is removed, and the filling material is applied and shaped directly to the tooth. Once the material is in place, it is hardened so that it bonds with the tooth.
Dental crowns are another good treatment option for tooth decay or dental damage. Dental crowns are larger than dental fillings. Rather than just filling in areas of decay, a dental crown completely surrounds and protects the crown of the tooth, sitting over it like a small cap. As with fillings, dental crowns are available in different materials (metal, metal core covered in porcelain, or all porcelain). Porcelain crowns are the most attractive restoration, which makes them a popular choice among our patients.
Dental crowns are an indirect dental restoration. This means that, instead of being shaped directly to the teeth, crowns are fabricated in a dental laboratory and are then bonded to the teeth. Dental crown treatment typically requires two dental appointments. At the first appointment, Dr. Altomare reshapes the tooth and takes molds to design and fit the dental crown. A temporary crown is placed while the final restoration is fabricated. Once the final crown is complete, patients return to our office to have it bonded in place.
Which Is Right for Me?
Fillings and crowns are both effective treatments for tooth decay and dental damage. When choosing which treatment option is best for each patient, it really comes down to the degree of decay that is present. Fillings are suitable for small to moderate areas of tooth decay. If larger cavities are present, or if damage has extended to multiple areas of the tooth, a dental crown is likely to be the most effective restorative dentistry treatment option.
Schedule an Appointment
Dr. James Altomare offers a comprehensive range of restorative dentistry treatments to address dental damage and restore the strength, function, and beauty of the smile. If your smile is in need of repair, let us help. To get a customized treatment plan from Dr. Altomare, call (609) 921-1020 and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.