It\u2019s never good to ignore a toothache. If you\u2019ve been feeling persistent tooth pain, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with our emergency dentists. Depending on the extent of tooth decay or damage, our dentists may recommend either a cavity filling or a dental crown. Every patient is different. Because of this, we will only offer what will benefit your oral health the most in the long run. Continue reading to learn the differences between crowns and fillings so you can know when either is needed. As always, don\u2019t hesitate to call our Hudsonville office if you have specific questions regarding treatment. How Do They Differ? Dental Crown \tTreats severe tooth decay or damage \tCovers and strengthens tooth \tRequires dental impressions Composite Resin Filling \tTreats minor tooth decay or damage \tFills in tooth \tNo dental impressions needed Dental Crown The only way to cure tooth decay is to drill out the cavity before it spreads. However, if the cavity is too big for a filling, our dentists will recommend a porcelain crown to strengthen the tooth. Once a cavity reaches a certain size, our dentists won\u2019t be able to drill out the decayed tooth matter without compromising the structural integrity of your tooth. Thankfully, a dental crown covers the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line, restoring its strength. A crown also matches the color of your natural tooth enamel so you can smile with confidence. How Long Do They Last? While crowns typically last longer than fillings, they do require that tooth enamel be removed. Our dentists will remove enough enamel so that the crown fits over your tooth but once tooth enamel is gone, you can never get it back. The process is irreversible. However, you\u2019re much better off with a dental crown if your tooth has been made fragile by a large cavity or repeated dental procedures. A crown is built to last you for years to come. When Would I Need a Crown? As explained above, dental crowns are generally reserved for instances in which a tooth is more severely affected. This can be because of a significant cavity or dental trauma. Crowns can also be used to cover a dental implant or hold a dental bridge in place. Situations that call for a dental crown include: \tProtection is needed for a weak tooth to prevent decay or further breakage. \tA broken or severely worn down tooth requires restoration. \tCoverage and support is needed for a tooth with a large filling. \tHolding a dental bridge in place. \tCovering irregularly shaped or severely discolored teeth. \tCovering a dental implant. Our dentists will be sure to discuss your specific needs with you one-on-one. If a crown is found to be the answer, we will make sure you are prepared and understand why it is recommended. Composite Resin Filling Cavities are caused by untreated dental plaque. If the cavity is small enough, our dentists will recommend you receive a filling. Unlike a crown, a dental filling doesn\u2019t require a sizable removal of tooth enamel. Instead, our dentists will only remove decayed tooth matter before filling the hole with tooth-colored composite resin. Many of our patients appreciate that a tooth filling is less invasive than a crown. Since composite resin fillings match the color of your natural enamel, we recommend them for teeth that show when you smile and talk. During the procedure, our dentists will remove as little tooth enamel as possible to restore your smile. If your teeth are too badly decayed or damaged, our dentist will recommend dental crowns. When Would I Need a Filling? Fillings are primarily used to treat small to moderate cavities but they have other uses as well. Cracked or broken teeth, for instance, can be repaired using fillings. Additionally, if your teeth have become worn due to excessive grinding or nail-biting, fillings can help. When you are seated in the chair, our dentists will use a small mirror to examine every tooth surface and determine if fillings are needed. Discuss Your Options with Our Dentists Today If you are unsure on what exactly you need, please don\u2019t hesitate to call our dental office. Our dentists will be more than happy to examine your smile and determine the best treatment for you. The best way to maintain a healthy smile is to never ignore severe tooth pain. Dental pain is your body\u2019s way of telling you something is wrong. Our Hudsonville, MI, dentists are dedicated to helping you maintain good oral health by providing fillings, crowns, dental implants, veneers, and other services. To schedule your appointment for emergency dental care, call (616) 209-4024. This blog post has been updated.