At your checkup, you’ve been told that your tooth has a cavity that requires a filling or crown. Knowing what to expect when you visit Hallock Family Dental can help ease your nerves before these simple procedures.
What Are Fillings and Crowns?
A filling helps restore a tooth that has developed a cavity, restoring its healthy form, preventing further complications like gum disease.
When the cavity goes too deep for a filling alone to fix the tooth, application of a crown may be required. Crowns can also be used to cover implants, protect weak teeth, and accomplish other functions like improving the cosmetic appearance of teeth.
Types of Fillings and Crowns
There are many types of fillings and crowns, each with specific benefits.
- Gold crowns are designed to last more than 20 years, but gold is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple dental visits.
- Porcelain fillings are similar in price to crowns, but they require less removal of tooth structure. They can be matched to the color of your natural teeth and will not stain over time. Like crowns, they require two separate appointments.
- Silver amalgam fillings are durable and affordable, but they are usually used only in the back teeth because of their dark color.
- Composite plastic resin fillings can be matched to your teeth for a natural look, but they usually only last up to 10 years. These fillings can stain over time.
- Bruxir crowns are milled from a solid piece of zirconia. These crowns are extremely durable, colored like natural teeth, and designed for people who clench or grind their teeth.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are the most common type of crown. These crowns have a metal substructure with a porcelain overlay. They match the natural teeth, but the porcelain can fracture if a patient has a severe grinding habit.
All porcelain crowns are mainly used on the front teeth. They are the most esthetic of the materials, but they typically are not durable enough to withstand the hard chewing forces in the posterior teeth. In addition to the materials described above, crowns can also be made from stainless steel.
Why Would You Need a Filling or Crown?
If you have a cavity, fillings and crowns help seal the tooth openings to prevent further decay. While a filling is sufficient for many cavities, a crown is required when the decay or fracture is too extensive to be repaired with a filling alone. A crown may also be recommended in cases where the tooth is weak, requires a bridge, or is extremely discolored.
While cavities are quite common, they can also lead to serious health problems. Complications of tooth decay can include pain, tooth abscesses, accumulation of pus, broken teeth, difficulty with chewing or bite, and premature loss of baby teeth in children. In severe cases, those with untreated tooth decay can develop nutrition problems, loss of permanent teeth, and serious infections.
What to Expect from the Procedure
Your dentist will first use special instruments to remove the decay. When the area of the cavity is clear, he or she will fill the open area in your tooth with the chosen filling material.
When your tooth requires a crown, your dentist will first remove any existing filling material and recurrent decay to ensure that your crown has a solid foundation. They will then prepare the tooth for the crown by reducing the tooth structure to allow room for the crown to fit with the normal bite. An impression of the crown preparation is sent to a dental lab for fabrication. The dentist will make a temporary crown out of acrylic to cover your tooth while the permanent crown is being made. This process takes one to two weeks. On a second visit, the dentist will attach the permanent crown using a special adhesive.
While cavities often have no symptoms, you should give us a call if you experience a toothache, tooth sensitivity (especially when eating something hot or cold), visible holes in or staining on the face of the teeth, or pain when you bite down. To learn more about fillings or crowns, call Hallock Family Dental. Visit our McKinney or Allen office after scheduling an appointment.