Last blog we discussed what is a cavity and how we fix small to medium sized cavities. You can find that here. Today we are going to discuss what options you have when the cavity gets large. A large cavity is defined as more than half of the original tooth structure is lost due to decay or fracture.
The most common restoration for large cavities is a dental crown. A crown is indicated when it is deemed that the tooth is no longer stable enough to be able to restored with a filling material due to decay, fracture, or root canal treatment. Crowns are dental “caps” that cover the tooth allowing for the tooth to be restored to its proper shape, aesthetics, and improve the strength of the tooth. The tooth is prepped by reducing 1.0-1.5 mm of all surfaces of the tooth, taking an impression or doing a digital impression, and having a crown fabricated. At our office, we are pleased to offer same day crowns with Cerec. See how the process works here.
In some situations, a temporary crown will be fabricated, and the case will be sent to a lab due to the difficulty of the case. The ability to usually skip a temporary allows you to take less time off work and avoid the annoyance of your temporary falling off after hours and on weekends.
Some teeth are too broken down for a filling but also not broken down enough for a crown. These teeth require inlays and onlays. An onlay is recommended when you have a portion of the tooth that is extremely broken down but the other half of the tooth is still healthy and stable. It allows you to build a restoration as strong as a crown without having to cut the good portion at all. See a video about onlays here.
With Cerec, no impression will be needed as seen in the video. Onlays when indicated are the perfect combination of being thorough while also being conservative.
An inlay is a bonded porcelain filling that can be seen here.
They aren’t as common as crowns and onlays, but are nice for patients who want a stronger filling such as people who grind their teeth or chew ice often. Inlays are prepped just like a filling is but are then fabricated and cemented instead of just being filled.
I hope this clarifies all the possible ways to restore a tooth. Feel free to contact us to with any questions or to schedule an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-963-3481. We would also appreciate if you would email us or call us with any topic you would like to be covered in future blogs. I want to cover the topics that mean the most to you.