The amount of tooth that has been destroyed determines what options the dentist has to restore the tooth. As a general rule, the less tooth that is decayed the less expensive treatment will be. For this reason early detection is the best case scenario. There are basically two ways for your dentist to restore decayed tooth structure. The first is a filling and the second is a crown. “Fillings” are basically placed in a tooth after the decay has been removed. There must be enough healthy tooth structure left after decay removal to hold the filling material and also bear the stress of grinding your teeth while chewing. If too much tooth has decayed the only option is to place a crown over the entire tooth. This is a much stronger restoration that holds the tooth together and bears the stress of chewing much better. Unfortunately, it is also much more expensive than a filling.