What are Some Alternatives to a Full Crown? – Some Options

Dental procedures like a full crown are designed to not only improve your smile but to help your overall dental health as well. That’s because a crown actually seals over your entire tooth protecting it from bacteria and acids that cause tooth decay to occur. Because of the form-fitting nature of a full crown, there are very few options that can match the level of protection a full crown provides. However, if you’re looking to avoid a full crown, there are a few options. Not all will be possible depending upon the level of tooth decay. Indirect dental fillings are one option, often called inlays or onlays. An inlay is filling that covers only the chewing surface of the tooth. In cases where decay or cavity is located in that spot and isn’t severe, an inlay is often the best choice for what you need since it’s less extreme than a full crown and will still provide protection. If you’re concerned about cost or the procedure itself, you may be better off asking your dentist if an inlay is the right choice for you. An onlay is similar and is often used synonymously with the term 3/4 crown. With an onlay, the filling or crown will not cover the entire tooth beneath it. Whereas a full crown completely encases the tooth, these options only cover a portion of the tooth and are valid options when the decay isn’t too serious. In any case, you’ll end up having to follow very detailed post-procedure care guidelines your doctor will give you. This will usually include specific ways of flossing along with avoiding certain types of foods. Determining if these options are right for you will obviously be up to your dental care provider. In most cases, teeth that are experiencing decay or cavities but that still have large portions of the tooth present and healthy could be taken care of through a partial crown or partial filling. It’s all really dependent upon your tooth’s present condition and whether or not it can support a partial filling. Take the time to research your options and discuss them with your dentist. You should be able to determine if a full crown is your only course of treatment or if you have other options.

Dr. Hazim is a member of the American Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. A graduate of Loyola University, Dr. Hazim has undergone continuing education at the Pankey Institute and has received accreditation from the Western Regional Examining Board.

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