Fillings are generally the first line of defence against any structural damage to a tooth. This can include cavities from poor cleaning or too much sugar consumption, simple fractures of teeth from chewing on hard objects like nuts or fingernails, or more severe fracture from trauma like sporting injuries and falls. With advances in technology, we only use white tooth colored filling materials these days and they are a great option in most cases for small structural repairs to teeth.
Fillings are still repairs of teeth and do not reinforce or make the teeth stronger after structural failure. Unfortunately, fillings gain most of the strength for longevity from the natural tooth structure around it so they still rely on you having enough tooth left to fill! As a general rule, if you still have 50% or more of the original tooth, fillings are a great affordable long term option! We charge approximately $180 – 300 for fillings.
Crowns and Indirect porcelain repairs
For structural repairs of teeth if there is only 40% or less of the actual tooth remaining, we would always recommend a stronger material made in a dental lab for the long term solution. We call these porcelain crowns or onlays but the main difference is the material itself is custom made from a much stronger material in a dental lab. The main difference between a standard filling and a crown is the ability of the crown to support itself even without being surrounded by natural tooth. In actual fact, when design a crown, we usually will cover the entire tooth with the ceramic material(or gold if you elect to) as it has been shown to exceed the strength of natural enamel! This is gold standard for bringing a tooth back to the original strength in most situations or can sometimes even make them stronger than a brand new tooth. The main downside of the crown is the extra time and effort as well as cost in the manufacturing and installation of these “”caps””. It typically takes us a total of 2hours or more to complete a reconstruction with porcelain(over 2 visits) vs. 30 minutes if done in a basic filling. We charge approximately $1400- $1600 for a crown.