Do I Need a Dental Crown or Dental Filling?

When it comes to restoring your teeth’s natural looks, the dentist usually has to pick between doing a dental crown or filling.

Even though both do the same thing i.e. repair damaged teeth, there are a few significant differences between them which ultimately determine which option the dentist will go with when performing your emergency dental care.

In this post, we will go over both the pros and cons of each procedure so that you’ll be more informed when you schedule your next appointment.

Fillings vs. Dental Crown

Dental Fillings

Dental Crowns

Use when there is minor damage or tooth decay Used to treat really damaged and decayed teeth
Fills in your tooth only Covers the entire tooth above your gums
It only takes one appointment to complete the procedure It takes at least 2 appointments to complete the procedure
No dental impressions needed Dental impressions needed
Costs less Costs more

Do I really need a crown on my tooth?

Dental crowns are a better option when there is severe damage or decay present on your teeth. Even if it means spending extra money. Unlike dental fillings, dental crowns cover the entire visible portion of your tooth. Among some patients, they are even known as ‘tooth caps’. In cases of extensive damage or decay, a dental filling simply wouldn’t be able to restore your tooth’s natural function and appearance.

Furthermore, dental crowns protect the underlying portion of your tooth from further damage or decay. Because they cover your tooth, crowns are usually durable and resilient to everyday ‘grind’ than dental fillings. Our experienced dentist will be able to accurately assess the amount of tooth damage or decay present, and based on that, recommend either a dental crown or dental filling. Also, teeth that underwent extensive and repetitive dental treatments, can also benefit from a dental crown.

Do I really need a filling?

Fillings are usually necessary in case of smaller cavities. If the damage is minimal, patients usually ‘get away’ with just a dental filling. Some patients even prefer dental fillings because they can be completed in one visit to our dental office. In contrast to dental crowns, our dentists don’t need to take a tooth impression in order to do a filling. This results in a much shorter and less expensive treatment.

Dental fillings are only able to fill small areas of your teeth that have decayed or have been damaged, hence the name ‘fillings’. Dental fillings are also minimally invasive, so that’s why some patients prefer them.

In order for the porcelain crown to fit over your tooth, the tooth itself must be filed down and prepared. On the other hand, with fillings, our dentists will try and preserve as much of the tooth’s structure as possible and ONLY fill those areas that have been damaged or have decayed. And with white cavity fillings, you don’t have to worry about the filling being noticeable. White cavity filings match your tooth enamel color so it’s ideal for teeth that are clearly visible when you smile or talk.

Is it better to get a crown or a filling?

Before you decide on the best procedure, you will need to talk to your dentist. Our dentists, with their extensive experience, will be able to assess your tooth’s health and determine whether or not you need a dental crown or dental filling. In case the damage is severe, you’ll need a dental crown. Otherwise a dental filling will suffice. However, some patients go with dental crowns either way, mainly because of their durability. In the end, before you make your choice, consult with our dentists.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”