A crown is a porcelain, metal or porcelain-metal manmade restoration that is made by a dental lab or a Cerec machine. It has the shape and color of a tooth and tits over a tooth that is prepared(trimmed) to receive it. A crown covers the tooth from all directions. This is why it is also named a cap. A partial crown is also known as inlay( it lays inside of the tooth, being surrounded in all directions by tooth structure) or onlay( it partly covers the tooth and is partly surrounded by tooth structure). A crown needs to be done when a cavity destroyed the tooth too much or when a big filling failed, broke or developed cavities underneath. Most of the time when a big filling(especially silver filling) fails, the dentist recommends a crown. The reason is that after cleaning the residue of the old filling and the decay underneath, there is not enough tooth structure to support a new filling. So in this kind of situation, the considered safe way to restore the tooth is to crown it. The only downside of the crown is that it needs the tooth to be trimmed down very agressively. When this happens, the nerve inside the tooth is more likely to become necrotic and the tooth to need a root canal. The enamel and dentin layers that are removed during the preparation used to act as protective layers for the nerve inside of the tooth. Because they are removed, an already irritated nerve(by infection from decay, trauma or temperature shock) is more likely to become irreversibly necrotic.
When are partial crowns needed?
When the tooth does not have enough tooth structure to support a filling, but has too much structure to be removed when trimmed for a crown.
How is the price of a partial crown relative to a full crown?
Traditionally the price of a partial crown is around 60% of the price of a full crown, but it is more expensive( aprrox. double) than a filling. The extra charge comes from the fact that the partial crown needs to be made in the lab from ceramic, gold or composite material.
If you feel that you have a filling that broke or keeps coming out and you were recommended a crown to restore the tooth, look into the possibility of restoring that tooth with a partial crown. The results are great, lower possibility to ever need a root canal for that tooth, less invasive for your tooth and for your pocket.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office in Washington Township, NJ, Sewell Dental Arts to schedule a free consultation. I will be happy to meet you and answer your questions.