Dental Crown vs. Dental Filling visual graphic

What Is The Difference Between A Dental Crown & Dental Filling?

Because dental fillings and dental crowns are both restorative dentistry procedures that can be used to fix similar problems with teeth, patients are sometimes unsure of which is right for them. In this article, we’ll talk about the differences between these two types of procedures and the problems that they can be used to treat so you’ll have a better idea of which restorative procedure you may need before you visit your dentist! If you have any questions about dental crowns, dental fillings, or any other restorative procedures, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Gentle Dental Maine!

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a custom-designed cover that fits snugly over a damaged or weakened tooth, providing a shield of protection. Think of it as the heavy lifter – perfect for larger cavities, weakened teeth, or post-root canal care. If your tooth needs a full makeover, a dental crown is the go-to.

What is Dental Filling?

Dental fillings are the perfect solution for minor to medium-sized cavities and other small tooth problems. When you have a smaller cavity or minor damage, a filling steps in to patch things up. Efficient and straightforward, dental fillings are the go-to for maintaining tooth health without the need for extensive coverage.

Dental Crowns vs. Dental Fillings: Key Differences

Coverage Area

  • Dental Crown: Covers the entire tooth, making it suitable for larger cavities, weakened teeth, or substantial restoration needs.
  • Dental Filling: Targets specific areas, ideal for smaller cavities or localized damage.


  • Dental Crown: Offers robust, enduring protection due to its comprehensive coverage.
  • Dental Filling: Provides efficient and quick restoration for localized concerns, although they can last for years with proper care.

Treatment Scope

  • Dental Crown: Reserved for major repairs, extensive cavities, or post-root canal care.
  • Dental Filling: Suited for minor problems, like addressing small cavities or localized damage.

When Might I Need A Dental Crown?

  • Extensive Decay or Damage: If your tooth has significant decay or damage that extends beyond what a filling can effectively address.
  • Weakened Tooth Structure: When a tooth is weakened due to decay, large fillings, or structural issues.
  • Post-Root Canal Treatment: Dental crowns are used following a root canal procedure to protect the treated tooth and restore its strength.

When Might I Need A Dental Filling?

  • Small to Moderate Cavities: When a cavity is small to moderately sized, a dental filling can keep food particles and bacteria away from the nerves in the inner tooth.
  • Minor Tooth Damage: For minor chips, cracks, or damage confined to a specific area.
  • Quick Restoration Needs: When a swift, efficient solution is required.

Contact Gentle Dental Maine!

If you have any questions about dental crowns, dental fillings, or any other restorative dentistry procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Gentle Dental Maine! We provide general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry solutions to our patients at each of our offices in South Portland, Biddeford, and Topsham! Give us a call at any one of our offices, or if you’re not yet a patient with us, please fill out patient forms on our website!