If your teeth have cavities or teeth that are not strong, your regular or emergency dentist may suggest fixing them with a filling or a crown. “Dental crowns vs. fillings” is the ultimate debate as these two treatment options offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. Dentists consider various factors when deciding which one to use.

But to make a decision between dental crown vs. filling, let’s understand what fillings and crowns are. 

Dental Crown vs. Filling — A Brief Description

Dental Crown

Dental Crown

A dental crown is like a fake tooth, often made from ceramic or porcelain, that goes on top of your tooth. Dentists use crowns when a tooth is so damaged that it needs protection to prevent it from worsening. Crowns look like natural teeth and can help you talk and eat better.

Dental Filling

Dental Filling

A dental filling is what dentists use to fix a small area of a tooth that’s starting to decay. They can use small fillings on any tooth. The dentist removes the decay, cleans the tooth, and puts in a material that helps maintain its integral structure.

You can have more than one filling in a single tooth. Fillings stop the bad bacteria from going deeper into your tooth. You may require a new filling from time to time, depending on your dentist’s treatment plan. 

Difference Between Dental Crown vs. Filling

Here’s a simple list that shows the main differences and uses of crowns and fillings. 

Basis of Difference

Dental Crowns

Dental Fillings

Purpose Cover and protect a damaged tooth Fill small to moderate cavities
Material Used Ceramic, porcelain, and metal alloys Composite resin, amalgam, ceramic
Tooth Structure Covers the entire tooth surface Fills the specific damaged area
Procedure Complexity More extensive and time-consuming Less invasive and quicker
Tooth Preservation Requires removal of some tooth structure Preserves more natural tooth structure
Strength and Durability Strong and long-lasting Less durable, may need replacement
Cosmetic Appearance It can be color-matched to the tooth It mimics the look of a natural tooth
Cost Generally more expensive More cost-effective
Use Cases Severe tooth damage, large cavities Small to moderate cavities

Keep in mind this is just a basic guide, and everyone’s oral health is unique. It’s important to schedule a dental check-up so we can understand how to help you best.

Dental Crown vs. Filling – Factors Determining Your Selection

Determining whether you need filling vs. crown involves looking at several variables to determine what’s best for you in the long run. 

Your dentist considers factors like:

Cavity Size

If you have a small cavity, a filling is usually enough to fix it. But a crown may be recommended if the cavity is big and has affected a large part of your tooth.

Tooth Condition

A crown might be needed if your tooth is weak or has been filled multiple times. Fillings can weaken the tooth over time, making it more vulnerable to damage.

Cracked or Broken Teeth

Crowns are used to repair teeth with chips, cracks, or that are broken. Fillings are for smaller holes and can’t fix these kinds of problems.

Root Canal

After a root canal, a tooth becomes weaker. A crown is often placed over it to protect it and prevent extraction. Fillings aren’t suitable for this purpose. 

Discolored or Misshapen Teeth

If you have teeth that are discolored or don’t look right, a crown is a good choice. Crowns are designed to match your natural teeth in color, size, and shape, while fillings can’t do this.

Pros & Cons of Dental Crowns vs. Filling

Advantages of Filling vs. Crown

Dental Crown

Dental Fillings

Disadvantages of Filling vs. Crown

Dental Crown

Dental Fillings


As you can tell, in the debate of dental crowns vs. fillings, each offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Only an experienced dentist can tell you which is best for your teeth.

When taking care of your teeth, you can rely on University Ave Dental for fillings, crowns, and everything else you might need in addition to regular cleanings.

You can schedule your next dental check-up with us online or call us at 763.784.1242 if you have any questions or worries.


Why do dentists push for crowns?

When cavities and decay go untreated for a long period, it spreads and gets bigger. Eventually, it infects the tooth’s pulp. If the decay affects a large portion of the tooth, the dentist will suggest a crown to reinstate the tooth’s structure.

Can I get a cap instead of a crown?

A dental crown and a dental cap are interchangeable terms, with the latter often employed by older individuals to describe dental crowns. A dental crown, a contemporary expression, pertains to tooth-colored caps designed to safeguard teeth that are damaged, discolored, chipped, or brown.