Traditionally restoring a decayed, broken, or otherwise damaged tooth meant getting a dental crown. While a dental crown may be suitable for you or a family member, John L. Aurelia, DDS, PLLC takes the approach that treatments that are more conservative may be a better solution.
Minimally invasive dental procedures equate to more the preservation of more natural tooth structure for an aesthetically pleasing result, which also costs less than more extensive procedures. More tooth structure also means more material for the prosthetic to hold onto for durability and strength.
Alternatives to dental crowns do not jeopardize the existing healthy structure of the tooth. They may be considered a middle ground option for those patients whose tooth can’t be preserved with a simple filling alone, but the damage is not severe enough to necessitate a dental crown.
If a small amount of natural tooth structure needs to be replaced, a filling material may be applied directly to the hole or cavity. However, if there is not enough tooth remaining for a filling, an inlay or onlay can restore your tooth to function and a pleasing appearance without the need for a crown.
Whereas fillings are materials molded to your problem tooth during the dental visit, their alternative must be fabricated separately as is the case with other types of restorations including crowns and porcelain veneers. The restored tooth material is then securely fitted and bonded to the damaged area.
The inlay is applied to the center of the tooth, while the onlay is bonded over at least one of the cusps or points of the tooth on the biting surface. These options are quite durable, whereas large fillings can fail and become a risk for decay. In the end, those with a large filling may have no other choice than to get a dental crown and potentially a root canal should the decay be extensive.
You or a member of your family may have gone through the common cycle of larger and larger fillings to bring teeth back to function and health. Eventually, the crown will become a preferred option to protect the remaining tooth structure.
If your teeth are heavily broken down as the result of advanced gum disease or other trauma, a crown can last 10 to 20 or more years. Crowns are versatile; they can also be used to replace missing teeth. Crowns support a pontic (or new tooth) in a bridge. They are also the last step in the dental implant procedure, which starts by rebuilding a missing tooth with an artificial root or implant made from medical-grade titanium.
Your Rochester Hills dentist, John L. Aurelia, DDS, PLLC, won’t know for sure if a dental crown is the best option for you until after an examination is completed. Call (248) 243-6044 to schedule an appointment.