Deep tooth decay, a crack or chip, or a web of tiny fractures across a tooth’s surface (called crazing) can indicate the need for a dental crown, also known as a cap. In some cases, a large, failed filling may need to be replaced with a dental crown or partial dental crown, called an inlay or onlay. When Dr. Darren Chugg places a cap, the solid restoration will renew strength and structural integrity, and when made from porcelain or zirconia, it will appear to be totally natural.
Comparison to Fillings
A cap differs from a dental filling in a few ways.
Indirect vs direct restoration – While a dental filling is made onsite by the dentist, a crown is designed by the dentist, then fabricated in a laboratory. Caps are made from porcelain fused over metal, all porcelain (also known as ceramic), or zirconia. They can also be made of all metal. Because they are not made onsite in the dentist’s office, caps are indirect restorations, and they require two office visits to complete the procedure.
Superior support and durability – Dental fillings are made of composite resin, a plastic material that is not nearly as strong as porcelain, metal, or zirconia. In addition, full caps literally cap a tooth, surrounding it on all sides, but not covering the root. Caps, therefore, provide more structural support than a filling.
Restores more than a filling can – A dental filling goes into a tooth, literally filling an area of extracted decay. In contrast, a cap surrounds a tooth, so it can hold together teeth that are cracked or crazed, while also covering the compromised enamel surface.
Inlays and Onlays
Sometimes referred to as partial or three-quarter crowns, inlays and onlays are lab-made restorations that fill a cavity, like a composite filling. However, because they’re made from porcelain or metal, inlays and onlays are more durable and supportive than composite fillings. In the past, a patient had to settle for a dental crown or dental filling, even if a crown was more than necessary and a filling not quite good enough to ensure optimal results. Inlays and onlays allow Dr. Chugg a middle-of-the-road alternative, with the strength of a dental crown and the size of a dental filling. Thus, they are more conservative restorations than a cap.
At Your Appointment
You’ll attend two visits to complete the dental crown, inlay, or onlay procedure. In most cases, these visits are scheduled one to two weeks apart – just long enough for a ceramist in our dental lab to create a custom restoration.
Your first visit will involve preparing your tooth for the crown, taking a dental impression, and fitting a temporary crown over your tooth. The temporary should serve you well until your next visit, but if it falls out, you can call our office for assistance. We don’t use permanent dental adhesive for temporary restorations.
Once your permanent cap arrives, your second appointment will only entail removing the temporary and securing the permanent crown. The doctor will check your occlusion to make sure the crown fits comfortably against opposing teeth. He can make adjustments, if needed. With good oral health and the absence of injury, a crown can last 10 to 20 years, perhaps longer.
Call Artistic Design Family Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZ at 480-563-0525 if you know you need a crown, would like a second opinion, or have a nagging toothache. Dr. Chugg will offer a thorough evaluation of your oral health, as well as an explanation of findings and treatment options, so you will have the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about dental treatment.