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How are Tooth Fillings and Crowns Different?

How are Tooth Fillings and Crowns Different?

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How are Tooth Fillings and Crowns Different Holland MI Dentist

While dental crowns and fillings are both used to restore teeth, our Holland dentist at Macatawa Smiles may decide that one is more appropriate for your smile. We understand that our patients want to feel informed when seeking dental care, which is why we explain the pros and cons of crowns and tooth fillings below.

If you have any questions at the end of this article, please feel free to contact us and we’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.

In general, dental fillings are used to restore teeth with minor damage while crowns restore major damage. Below is a quick comparison of how fillings and dental crowns are different:

  • Fillings

  • Fills in decayed teeth
  • Treats minor damage or decay
  • 1 appointment
  • No dental impressions needed
  • Crowns

  • Covers decayed teeth
  • Treats severe damage or decay
  • 1 appointment (with CEREC)
  • Dental impressions are needed

When to Choose a Filling

Fillings let you keep more natural tooth structure than crowns. During your appointment, one of our family dentists will remove decayed tooth matter and fill the hole with composite resin. For front teeth that show when you smile or talk, our dentists may recommend composite fillings to match the color of your tooth enamel.

If you have a toothache, call Macatawa Smiles as soon as possible. The longer you ignore tooth pain, the less chance we’ll be able to restore your tooth with a simple filling.

Many of our patients appreciate that fillings are less invasive than crowns. Our dentists will only remove decayed tooth matter before restoring your tooth with a dental filling. Dental crowns, on the other hand, require us to remove enough healthy enamel so the crown won’t make the tooth look bulky.

When to Choose a Dental Crown

A dental crown (sometimes called a “tooth cap” by our patients) covers the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line. We may recommend a dental crown for a tooth made fragile from a root canal or repeated dental procedures. Our dentists may also recommend a tooth crown if they discover a cavity that’s too big for a filling. Dental crowns help protect your tooth enamel from further damage and sensitivity.

Our Same-Day Dental Crowns

CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramics. Unlike other offices, we use CEREC to plan and place your dental crown in one appointment. That means that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of a temporary crown and a second visit to our office.

Read more: 5 Benefits of CEREC Same-Day Crowns >>

During your visit with us, one of our dentists will file down your tooth before taking digital impressions. These impressions are then used to create a 3D model of your new dental crown right in front of your eyes.

Once the dentist is satisfied with how your CEREC crown looks, they’ll send it to the milling machine in our office. This machine then carves out your dental crown out of a block of ceramic that matches the exact shade of your natural tooth enamel.

When your CEREC dental crown is ready, one of our dentists will cement it to your tooth and check your bite. That way, your teeth will make proper contact when you bite down and chew.


Since composite fillings are less expensive and invasive, you may assume that they’re always the better choice. Yet, it really depends on the condition of your tooth. If your tooth has been weakened by injury or decay, adding a filling won’t restore its strength. Instead, a large filling will make the tooth more vulnerable to cracking. In this situation, you would need a dental crown to cover the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line.

Each dental treatment has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It all comes down to your specific situation and how much time and money you’re willing to spend. One of our dentists will recommend the best solution for your smile so you can regain your oral health.

Request an Appointment

Dr. Brenton Habecker at Macatawa Smiles is dedicated to helping you maintain good oral health with CEREC dental crowns, fillings, and other restorations. To schedule an appointment with our Holland dentist, call (616) 396-7524.

This blog post has been updated.


Dear Patient Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care and we appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to follow orders from the Governor's Office.

We are happy to say that we are opening our office for all patient treatment on June 1st, 2020. Our hours of operation will go back to normal, Monday-Thursday 8am - 5pm. We want you to know that there will be some changes at your next appointment. Please be patient with us as our protocols will inevitably change as new guidelines are released.

  • We ask that you use our parking lot as the waiting room.
  • Please wear a mask when you come into the office and leave it on until entering the treatment room. Homemade is acceptable.
  • Only the person receiving treatment should come in the building, all others will be asked to wait in the car if at all possible. The exception will be for our minor patients who may have one parent accompany them.
  • We will be asking you some questions when you arrive at the office and we will also be taking your temperature.
  • We will not be able to offer magazines, drinks, or toys at this time as they cannot be disinfected to our standards. Eventually this will change and we will be happy to offer our amenities once again.

These changes have been made to adhere to the latest CDC guidelines and for the benefit of our patients and our staff. We want you to know that our office has always taken the safety of our patients very seriously and that we will continue to follow the highest levels of sterilization and disinfection to keep you protected. If you would like more information on what measures we have taken we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We cannot say how excited we are to see all of our patients again and to provide for their dental needs. We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces soon!

Dr. Habecker and Team