Crowns vs. 4-Surface Fillings

Dental Technician Preparing Ceramic Tooth Crown. Prosthetic Dentistry.

Discover more information about crowns and 4-surface fillings as options to treat your cracked, broken, or decayed teeth.

If your teeth are cracked, have decay, or are broken, you have options to repair them. It’s best to begin with a checkup with your dentist to assess the situation and provide recommendations. Among those recommendations will typically be dental crowns or 4-surface fillings. Before you know the difference or which is best for you, it helps to understand a bit about each option. 

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth — to cover the tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength, and improve its appearance. Crowns, when cemented into place, will cover the entire visible part of your tooth above the gum line.

Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?

A dental crown may be needed to:

  1. Protect a weak tooth (decayed or breaking) 
  2. Hold together a cracked tooth
  3. Cover dental implants
  4. Make cosmetic modifications
  5. Restore an already broken tooth 
  6. Cover and support a tooth with a large filling
  7. Hold a dental bridge in place
  8. Cover misshaped or badly discolored teeth

What is a 4-Surface Filling?

Four-surface fillings are fillings that cover four of the five tooth surfaces on one tooth. A four-surface filling can contain a mixture of metals including silver, copper, tin, and liquid mercury. Generally, this process takes about an hour depending on the amount of decay that needs to be removed prior to filling. 


What is the Difference and Which is Best for Me? 

Crowns are best when a large portion of your tooth needs filling. Fillings don’t always protect the tooth over a long period of time, and the goal is to protect the remaining tooth. If a large portion of your tooth needs to be filled, a crown tends to be the better option. In these cases, a filling can act put too much pressure on the tooth and create fractures when you chew. 

Now that you’re practically an expert in crowns vs. 4-surface fillings, you’ll want to have a conversation with your dentist and they’ll want to take a look at your teeth. Either option you choose, crowns or 4-surface fillings, you can rest assured your dentist will do what’s best for you and your oral health.