Fillings and Crowns 101

What is a dental filling?

Fillings are used to fill the hole that is left behind when a dentist takes out a cavity. Fillings can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or give new shape to a tooth.

Steps to filling a tooth

The dentist will numb the area around the tooth, then use a special drill to remove the cavity. The hole will be filled with a special material (mentioned below). The dentist will then shape and polish the filling so it fits well with your other teeth.

What types of fillings are there?

Fillings can be made of metals (usually gold or mercury mixed with other metals), ceramic, or plastic-type materials. They last anywhere from 5-15 years, with metals usually lasting the longest.

How can I avoid needing more fillings?

To help prevent cavities, brush after meals, floss at least once a day, and make sure you get your teeth cleaned by a dentist twice per year. Read more about taking care of your teeth here.

What is a Dental Crown?

A crown is a cap that is put over a tooth that is broken, damaged, or decayed. It protects the tooth, and gives support in chewing food. Adults usually get tooth-colored crowns made of porcelain. But for children,who will lose their baby teeth, a stainless steel crown is a long-lasting and cheaper option.

The three most common reasons for getting a crown are:

  1. Cavities have damaged the tooth to the point that a filling will not help.

  2. The tooth is broken

  3. Crowns are also put on after a root canal to give extra support to the tooth. In a root canal, the nerve at the center of the tooth is removed because it is decayed, damaged, or infected.

Why do kids need crowns on baby teeth?

Baby teeth help children speak clearly, chew their food, and help adult teeth to grow in straight. It’s good to keep them for as long as you can, even if they’re covered by a crown!

Why do children get stainless steel crowns?

They are made of sturdy metal that is easy to clean and hard for a child to damage. They can be fitted easily and quickly in a single appointment.

Talk to your dentist about why your child may need a filling or a crown and how you can help protect their teeth from decay.


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