Crowns Versus Fillings: Which Option Is Right For You?

Repairing a damaged tooth can help to restore your smile, but you'll need to examine the different options available to make these repairs. For people with cavities, crowns and fillings are common options. Here are a few things you should know about each option to determine which one is right for you.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are caps that are placed directly over the damaged tooth. Some dentists may even refer to them as caps. They create the look of a new, healthy tooth to brighten your smile. The cost of a crown can range from $500 to $1,500 or more, depending on the material used and whether or not you have dental insurance. Crowns tend to be reserved for use when the tooth decay is extensive, but not so severe as to require a tooth extraction.

Dental Fillings

If you ever had a cavity as a child, you may already be familiar with dental fillings. Your dentist will use a material to fill the damaged area of the tooth to prevent further decay. Fillings can be made of gold, porcelain, composite resin or an amalgam of metal. For cavities in molars, the material isn't essential to the look of your smile, but cavities near the front of your mouth usually call for porcelain or composite resin to create a look that matches your teeth. Fillings can cost between $50 and $300, or more. Your dentist can help you to choose the right material for your fillings to get the best possible results for your smile, whether you have a molar with a cavity or a damaged front tooth.

Making A Choice

Fillings can be used to repair less severe tooth decay, while dental crowns are reserved for more extensive damage. In some cases, your dentist may give you a choice between the two. If cost is a concern, you may want to select a filling. However, if cost is not an option and you are worried primarily about the look of your smile, you may want to consider a dental crown. Both procedures are performed in your dentist's office, and while there may be some pain or discomfort after each procedure, they are both minimally invasive procedures.

Your dentist can help you go over the pros and cons of each option. Once you have all the information you need about both procedures, you can make the choice that is right for you and your smile.