Dental fillings may be a more familiar form of dental restoration than dental crowns are. However, many people wonder whether getting a crown is necessary and how much it will cost. We recommend getting a crown from a dentist if the dental crown is necessary to protect the tooth from further damage or to restore the tooth after damage or disease has already occurred.

Dental Crowns vs. Tooth Fillings: What You Need to Know

If you’ve been told you need a dental crown and aren’t sure why, or you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry and want to see whether tooth-colored crowns are an option for you, here are the basics of crowns vs. fillings, including what they are, what they’re used for and why a crown is sometimes necessary.

What Is a Filling?

A filling, also called a dental amalgam, is the most common type of restoration used to repair a chipped or broken tooth. It is one of the least expensive and most convenient dental procedures available today. A filling is usually made of a metal called “amalgam,” which is a mixture of metals and fillers. The amalgam is shaped to fit over the entire surface of the tooth where it has been damaged.

There are many different types of fillings, including silver fillings, composite or plastic fillings, and tooth-colored fillings. Each one works differently, and the type of filling used will depend on the size and shape of the tooth that needs to be repaired, as well as the location of the breakage. The dentist will discuss these details during your initial exam and will advise you as to what filling will be suited for your particular case.

What Is a Dental Crown?

Also called a tooth cap, a crown is a covering that fits over the entire tooth. It is the only type of restoration used to restore (or protect) a severely damaged tooth. Crowns can also be used in cosmetic dentistry to protect a weak tooth and give it the appearance of being stronger.

A crown is made using a mixture of several different materials, including porcelain, zirconia, gold, or alloys of different metals. The crown is placed over the existing tooth and will completely cover it. The crown can replace existing fillings or cover a tooth that has had a large amount of decay or damage.

Dental Crowns or Fillings?

There are several reasons why a dentist may recommend a crown instead of a filling. It will depend on the age, condition, and size of the tooth. You may need a dental crown if your tooth is:

Secondary teeth, such as wisdom teeth, also benefit greatly from crowns. Since they can be highly visible, and because they are located in the back of your mouth, they are very susceptible to damage. Crowns can provide a stronger option than fillings to protect these teeth from further damage and to help correct the appearance of these teeth.


Fillings and dental crowns are two of the most common types of dental restoration. While fillings are typically less expensive, crowns will restore your tooth to its original shape and size while covering it entirely. Both fillings and crowns will restore your tooth to a healthy state, but the types of procedures, their purpose, and even the materials used to create them are different, making it important to determine which one is right for your situation, your lifestyle, and your smile.

If you are looking for a family dentist in Chelmsford, visit the Chelmsford Dental Specialists Group. Since 1983, Michael Sargent, DDS, has been well-known as a leading family dentist in Central Massachusetts. Chelmsford Dental Specialists Group in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, is dedicated and committed to helping patients improve and maintain their oral health.