Inlays, onlays & partial crowns – the healthier alternative to full crowns
The first gold crowns were originally made by the ancient Etruscans over 2000 years ago. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that the modern crown, as we know it, was developed and perfected. Since then, crowns have been a traditional “go to” tooth restoration treatment for teeth that have been too badly damaged to be repaired with a filling.
What are full dental crowns?
Crowns, also known as dental caps, are a type of dental restoration that completely covers or encases a damaged tooth or dental implant. Crowns can be fabricated from a number of materials, including metal alloys (gold/titanium) and ceramic/porcelain (zirconia/silica). Other indications for dental crowns are badly worn, fractured, broken down or eroded teeth.
There is only one catch with crowns – typically, large amounts of healthy tooth structure need to be removed to make way for a crown.
The side effects of full crown procedures
Does it make sense to compromise the integrity of a damaged tooth by removing even more of its natural structure to prepare it for a crown restoration? Crowns can fail with time, and one reason this happens is that full crown preparations are a very invasive dental procedure that may remove excessive amounts of your healthy tooth portion.
As a result, the underlying tooth structure for a crown may fracture because it is too weak to handle the stress and pressure put upon it. Tooth enamel is the strongest material in the human body, but removing more than what is already missing only serves to weaken it as a strong foundation for a crown restoration.
Other side effects of full crown procedures include:
- Gum tissue damage including irritation, inflammation and bleeding of the gums. Gum damage can occur when a dentist preps and restores the tooth below the gum line (subgingival). When a crown is placed below the gum line, it can act as a gum irritant and cause permanent gum inflammation. This can impact on the health of the gums and increase the risk of infection and gum disease (periodontitis).
- Collateral damage. Crown preparation and procedures below the gum line may cause damage to dental pulp (nerve).
The benefits of onlays and partial crowns
Inlays, onlays and partial (¾) crowns are an excellent alternative to repairing teeth badly damaged by decay and large cavities.
While full dental crowns may require aggressive prep for a fairly basic problem, inlays, onlays and partial crowns are intended to treat only the diseased or damaged part of your tooth. They can be used to help preserve as much of your healthy tooth structure as possible. This avoids side effects, such as tooth pain, related to removal of large amounts of your natural tooth. With modern technology, such as a Cerec 3D milling machine, temporary inlays and onlays are now possible – if necessary at all, since Cerec machines can fabricate the real ones on the spot.
Inlays, onlays and partial crowns have a range other benefits also because they:
- bond to your tooth, as opposed to amalgams fillings which are pushed into a cavity space;
- strengthen your remaining natural tooth structure;
- avoid the removal of healthy tooth enamel;
- help prevent fractures and breakages of your remaining natural tooth
- are durable and a have a seamless, natural appearance
Minimally-invasive dentistry – above the gum line!
At Leeming Dental, we are all about gentle, less invasive dental procedures. When we place inlays, onlays and partial crowns, we practice supra-gingival, minimally-invasive dental techniques.
By using supra-gingival dental techniques, we keep your restoration above the gum line where possible, as opposed to sub-gingival drilling (below the gum line) thus avoiding potential problems with gum irritation/inflammation and trauma/damage to your tooth, pulp, nerves and gum tissue. This means less collateral injury to soft and hard tissue, reduced post-procedure pain, faster healing and healthier teeth and gums – for better long-term oral health outcomes!
Contact Leeming Dental for a healthier tooth restoration today
If you have a tooth moderately damaged by decay, cavities, wear and/or trauma – and you want to save as much of it as possible! – Leeming Dental can assess your tooth damage to see if it can be repaired with a ceramic or porcelain inlay, onlay or partial crown.
Leeming Dental would love to help you achieve your healthiest smile. For more information or to book a consultation, call our helpful reception on 9317 3367 or book online.