When Do Dental Crowns Become Necessary Instead Of Fillings?

Posted on: 7 February 2019

Dental fillings are one of the most common tools that a dentist can use to repair damage to teeth, like holes left behind after a cavity forms. However, fillings can't be used for every kind of tooth repair. If you've been told that you may need a dental crown and don't know why you're going to be getting one of those instead of a filling, here are some of the most common causes for being given a crown instead.


Dental crowns  encapsulate the entire tooth, which provides a lot more strength when compared to a filling. When you have a cavity form on the biting surface of your tooth, you're far more likely to need a dental crown than a simple filling.

The reasoning for this is that when you bite down on a tooth, the entire tooth needs to equally handle the pressure that's being applied to it. Fillings typically aren't strong enough to put up with this kind of abuse over the long-term. While a temporary filling might help to keep your tooth from ending up in worse condition in the short-run, a crown is necessary to ensure that no further damage is done over a long period of time.


Another common issue is pressure. When a cavity forms in the side or front of a tooth, that part of the tooth is almost never exposed to high amounts of pressure from the outside. So it's very common for dental fillings to be used when you have a hole in part of your tooth that isn't actually used to chew or bite.

If the part of your tooth is used to chew, it falls under the need for a crown for the same reason as above. It protects your tooth from further damage and covers any fillings that are used, ensuring that they won't crack, break, or fall out.

Severity of Tooth Condition

Lastly, the condition of your tooth plays a big role in whether or not you can get a simple filling.

Teeth are made up of different layers, including the enamel, dentin, and pulp. When you have a severe cavity or another kind of problem that means removing some of these interior layers, like a root canal, you'll likely need a crown for your tooth.

When the interior structures of your teeth are removed, all that's left is the hollow shell of the outside. This may not be strong enough to withstand your day-to-day use of your teeth. When this happens, your dentist will use a crown as a precaution so that it absorbs most of the pressure that your tooth would otherwise undergo.

Dental crowns are a step up from fillings in terms of how useful they can be and what they're capable of protecting you from. If your dentist wants to give you a crown, rest assured that it's in your best interest and will help to ensure that your teeth will be healthy and protected even years from now.