Crowns Vs. Fillings

If your Grand Rapids dentist discovers a cavity during your next teeth cleaning, they’ll recommend either a dental crown or filling to restore the tooth to its original strength.

If you’re given the choice, do you know which is better for your smile? If you’ve ever wondered how crowns and tooth fillings are different, now’s your chance to find out before your next appointment.

Crowns vs. Fillings


  • Covers decayed teeth
  • Severely damaged or decayed tooth
  • Completed in 2 dental visits
  • Requires impressions
  • More expensive


  • Fills in decayed teeth
  • Minor tooth damage or decay
  • Completed in 1 dental visit
  • No impressions
  • More affordable

When You Need a Dental Crown

Dental crowns are sometimes called “tooth caps” by our patients because they cover the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line. Your dentist may recommend porcelain crowns for teeth left fragile after repeated dental procedures. In other words, a tooth crown prevents further damage and sensitivity.

If you need a front tooth crown, your dentist will be especially careful to make sure the shade of the crown matches the rest of your smile and looks natural. In fact, some of our patients choose dental crowns for teeth that are discolored, which would make it a cosmetic dentistry procedure.

To get a dental crown, you’ll need to schedule two separate appointments at your family dentistry. During the first appointment, your dentist will prepare the receiving tooth by filing down excess enamel before taking impressions. These impressions are then sent to the lab where your dental crown will be made.

In the meantime, your dentist will place a temporary crown to protect the tooth. When you come back for your second appointment, your dentist will replace the temporary crown with the permanent tooth restoration. Since the dental crown procedure takes two visits to your dentist, it costs more than getting a simple filling.

When You Need a Filling

Tooth cavity fillings are used to fill the hole left in your tooth after your dentist drills decayed tooth matter. However, a filling can also be used to repair a small chip in your tooth. During the procedure, your family dentist will drill to remove any decayed tooth matter and will then fill in the tooth with dental amalgam or composite resin. Composite fillings (also called tooth-colored fillings) are typically used for teeth that show when you smile or speak. Unlike crowns, fillings only take one visit to complete, which also makes them less expensive.

Whether you choose crowns or fillings will depend on your unique circumstances and how much time and money you are willing to spend. If you are unsure which treatment is best for you, schedule an appointment at a dentist office near you.

Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry has dedicated his career to providing patients with the highest level of dental care. If you are interested in learning more about our general and cosmetic dentistry services, schedule an appointment with our dentist in Grand Rapids at (616) 458-7267.

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