What’s the difference between a crown and a filling?
When a tooth has decay, but there is still a good amount of healthy tooth structure remaining a filling can be used to replace the missing structure.
However, when a tooth is so broken down a filling will not be enough to repair the missing tooth structure, or if an existing filling is too large to be replaced, a crown or cap is needed. Crowns provide increased coverage and strength to the tooth when fillings are not enough.
Also, teeth that have been root canaled usually require a crown afterwards because they have lost a lot of tooth structure, hence are weaker and need reinforcement to prevent fracture or breakage. Additionally, a crown provides the best seal to protect the tooth from bacterial reinfection- a poorly sealed off tooth after root canal therapy is the number one reason for failure.
Crowns are also used for many other reasons, including restoring the bite or the look of teeth – be it colour, shape or alignment.
Whether a crown or filling is best depends on the above factors and ones own unique treatment plan and respective requirements.