For patients requiring dental crowns, there is a new option that provides a less-invasive procedure for those who are eligible – partial crowns, or inlays/onlays.
As the name suggests, these crowns supplement only the portion of the tooth that needs to be repaired, thus minimizing the invasiveness of the procedure and extending the life of the existing tooth structure. For the patient, this is a real game changer, as it delays the time between a filling and a full crown.
When explaining this option to patients, I ask them to think about the tooth as having multiple lives.
Typically, the first time you save the tooth is when you have a cavity filled. This filling will usually last for about 15 years. At this point, the patient may require a larger filling, which would be considered the second time you save the tooth. Then, after another 15 years, this filling may break and you will need to move to a crown – the third time you save the tooth. After a crown, the only other option is an implant – which most cosmetic dentists try to avoid for as long as possible.
In this scenario, a partial coverage crown will come between the last filling and the full crown. However, unlike a full crown, this option does not require that the tooth structure be cut away. In addition, because partial coverage crowns do not need to be placed under the gum line like traditional crowns, they require a much less invasive procedure.
These are not the only benefits to the patient, however. In fact, in my experience partial coverage crowns often look much more natural than full crowns. That is because in preserving the tooth structure, we are able to keep the natural contours of the tooth. This also leaves the tooth much stronger, as more of the natural structure still remains.
In addition, because the point in which the crown ends and the natural tooth begins is above the gum line, partial coverage crowns are much easier to clean and floss. Those patients who receive a partial coverage crown are also much less likely to need a root canal in the future.
Finally, it should be noted that partial coverage crowns are comparable in price to full coverage crowns – making it an easy choice for those who are eligible.
However, if the tooth is already cracked or the existing crown has already failed, a partial coverage crown is no longer an option and a full crown must be placed.
For more information on partial coverage crowns, or to find out if you are eligible for this option, call us at 813-689-4226 to schedule a consultation today.