Ankeny Dentist Answers: Do you need a crown or a filling?

crownWhen faced with dental treatment, options may be confusing. A common misunderstanding is whether you need a crown or a filling. Don’t they both just restore a tooth to its original shape? Is one really better than the other? To help you understand the difference, your Ankeny family dentist, Dr. Erika Peddicord, teaches you the basics in today’s blog post.


Fillings and crowns both restore the structural integrity and shape of a chipped or fractured tooth. A filling is material placed within the walls of the tooth. A crown is a cap that is goes completely over a tooth. While fillings simply restore a tooth’s shape, a crown can also reshape a tooth, since it fully encases all the tooth’s visible portions.

What You Need

There are two considerations when choosing between a filling and a crown: integrity and appearance. Fillings primarily address smaller defects and work best when fitted completely within the walls of the tooth. As cracks get bigger, fillings become less effective and prone to failure by either leaking or breaking. Large fillings are not structurally sound, and repeated, patchwork fixes to big fillings can weaken the tooth enough to cause its eventual demise. Crowns allow a restructuring of the entire tooth so that any pressure from chewing is properly distributed. Therefore, crowns are more durable than fillings and, when properly taken care of, can last a lifetime.

Since a crown completely covers a tooth, it can be used to enhance the cosmetic appearance of your teeth. If a cracked tooth is misshapen or discolored, a crown will cover it up while a filling doesn’t hide anything.

When deciding what is right for your tooth, Dr. Peddicord will consider how big the problem is, as well as the appearance of the affected area. Remember: when a doctor suggests a crown, it is probably because the problem is big enough to make it necessary.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Ankeny Family Dentist

If you need a new crown or filling or just want an old one checked, contact our Ankeny dentist office. Call us at (515) 963-3339 to make an appointment. We serve patients in Ankeny, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Maxwell, Collins, and surrounding areas.