Your smile is an important aspect of your personality. Maintaining it, then, should always be a priority. When it comes to caring for and fixing your teeth, you have quite a few choices, depending on your exact needs. Two of the more common dental procedures performed today are dental fillings and the placement of dental crowns. Both have specific uses, benefits, and disadvantages, so how do you know which is the right choice for you? The answer depends on your exact condition and will require thorough dental examination to determine; however, to help you better understand the purpose of each, Polk City dentist Dr. Ryan Hussong compares the two procedures and their common uses.
Dental Filling—For Replacing Tooth Structure
When decay touches your tooth, the infection literally erodes your tooth structure. Tooth decay is progressive and does not stop or abate on its own, so how you treat it depends on its severity at the time of detection. Typically, decay is caught at the dentin—the layer of tooth directly underneath the protective tooth enamel. Dentin’s surface is dotted with tiny tubules that feed sensory information to the tooth’s nerves, huddled inside the center of the tooth in the tooth’s pulp. Tooth sensitivity is common once the infection reaches the dentin. Minor tooth decay can often be treated by removing the decayed tissue, which helps prevent the spread of infection. However, unlike other body tissues, your tooth’s structure does not grow back, so a dental filling is often inserted to help the tooth maintain its structural integrity.
Dental Crowns—For Protecting and Reinforcing Tooth Structure
Your tooth’s inability to regenerate itself after damage poses other problems, as well. When your tooth is cracked, fractured, or otherwise damaged, it cannot heal naturally. If left untreated, the damage will worsen. Severe damage often requires the extraction of the tooth to prevent subsequent oral and overall health concerns. Not so severe damage is equally serious, but professional dental care can often save the tooth and reinforce it against further damage. A dental crown, which is shaped like your tooth and placed over it, can restore the appearance and function of broken or damaged teeth. Crowns are often used in conjunction with a filling to reinforce the tooth after a portion of its structure has been removed and replaced. In cases where a filling is inadequate, but a dental crown is too much, Dr. Hussong may recommend a partial crown, or ¾ crown. Often referred to as inlays and onlays, partial crowns often replace old, worn metal fillings, or to repair tooth decay under an existing filling.
Ask a Professional
To learn more about fillings and crowns, or to find out which is the right choice for you, schedule a consultation with your Polk City dentist by calling Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. We serve families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.