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Do I Need a Crown or a Filling? Dentist Grand Rapids, MI

Whether you need a dental crown or a filling will depend on how much healthy tooth structure you have left. Our dentist does everything in their power to preserve your natural tooth structure, which may mean choosing a filling over a dental crown.

As you read, it’s important to remember that each patient is different. Fillings and crowns come with their own set of advantages for restoring oral health.

Crown vs. Filling

The longer you wait to seek dental care, the more likely you’ll need a dental crown to restore your tooth. Fortunately, our dentist is able to plan and place a CEREC crown in one appointment. Whether you need a crown or a filling will depend on the tooth’s health.


  • Treats severe tooth decay or damage
  • Covers and strengthens tooth
  • Requires dental impressions
  • Made outside the mouth


  • Treats minor tooth decay or damage
  • Fills in tooth
  • No dental impressions needed
  • Applied directly to tooth

Dental Crown

The only way to cure tooth decay is to drill out the cavity before it spreads. If the cavity is too big for a filling, your dentist will recommend a porcelain or CEREC crown to strengthen the tooth.

Whether your dentist recommends a filling or crown will depend on the extent of tooth decay.

Once a cavity reaches a certain size, your dentist won’t 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 natural strength. A CEREC crown also matches the color of your natural tooth enamel so you can smile with confidence.

While crowns typically last longer than fillings, they do require your dentist to remove tooth enamel. Your dentist will remove enough enamel so the dental crown fits over your tooth. Once tooth enamel is removed you can never get it back. However, you’re much better off with a CEREC crown if your tooth has been made fragile by a large cavity or repeated dental procedures. A tooth crown will last you for years to come.

Related: What You Should Know About Dental Crowns >>

Tooth Filling

Cavities are caused by untreated dental plaque. If the cavity is small enough, your dentist will recommend you get a filling.

Unlike a crown, a cavity filling doesn’t require your dentist remove tooth enamel. Instead, your dentist will only remove decayed tooth matter before filling the hole with composite resin.

Many of our patients appreciate that a tooth filling is less invasive than a crown.

Since composite fillings match the color of your natural enamel, we recommend them for teeth that show when you smile and talk.

During the procedure, your dentist will remove as little tooth enamel as possible to restore your smile. If your teeth are too badly decayed or damaged, your dentist will recommend dental crowns.


If you are unsure whether you need a tooth filling or crown, call our dental office. Our dentist will be more than happy to examine your smile and determine the best treatment.

The best way to maintain a healthy smile is to never ignore severe tooth pain. Dental pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.

Request an Appointment With Us

Dr. Alexandra Dodds is a dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. To schedule your appointment for a dental crown or filling, call Renew Family Dental at (616) 245-3205.

This blog post has been updated.