FAQ’s About Crowns

Frequently Asked Questions about Crowns


What is a crown and why do I need one?

If there is not enough tooth structure left to support a filling, inlay or onlay then the tooth must be covered up completely with a crown to protect it. If there is a large existing filling that is failing or a tooth has broken and by removing that filling and preparing the tooth there is not enough natural tooth structure, a crown is recommended.

What is the difference between a crown and an onlay or inlay?

A crown completely covers the tooth and no tooth structure is exposed.

A dental inlay fills the space in between the cusps, or rounded edges, at the center of the tooth’s surface.

The dental onlay works like an inlay but covers one or more cusps or the entire biting surface of the tooth. Because of their extensive coverage, dental onlays are sometimes referred to as “partial crowns.”

Basically, the more tooth structure that is missing will determine which type of restoration is needed.

What is a buildup?

A buildup is needed when the loss of tooth structure is such that it will not hold a crown so the tooth has to be “built up” with a material and then shaped so that a crown will adhere.

What is a post and core?

post and core crown is a type of dental restoration required where there is an inadequate amount of sound tooth tissue remaining to retain a conventional crown on a tooth that has had a root canal. A post is cemented into a prepared root canal, which retains a core restoration, which retains the final crown.

Why can’t I just get a filling?

A filling requires tooth structure to hold it in place and without sufficient tooth structure a filling will not stay in the tooth. That is why it is very important to visit your dentist regularly so that problems can be detected when they are small and can be handled with a simple filling.

Why don’t I just take the tooth out? It is much cheaper.

That is certainly an option but remember you only have so many teeth and throughout your life the loss of even a few teeth cause your bite to collapse causing more expensive problems down the road. The road to dentures is not one you really want to go down if it can be avoided. A set of conventional dentures that fits well and that a patient can wear has about 30% chewing efficiency as natural teeth. Implant supported dentures are life changing for most patients but come with a hefty price tag costing into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Here at Cosmetic Dentistry of San Antonio, we can often do crowns in one visit with leading edge CEREC technology. Call today for more information!

Edward J Camacho DDS