Dr. Phillippe Freeman has always believed that the best dentistry is the least amount possible to achieve a resolution to the problem. Dental crowns are one of the most invasive and aggressive procedures dentists perform on a human tooth. In essence, the exterior of the tooth, which is the strongest part of the tooth, is completely cut away to cover or “cap” the tooth. Many times there is a lot of good, strong tooth structure still remaining. As we age, the teeth become more brittle like bones. Many crowns in our later years of life can break the remaining tooth off necessitating its removal or more extensive and expensive replacement of that tooth.
There are dental restorations that are much more conservative that have been used since our grandparents were having their dentistry done. The only difference is that the materials and science have improved, but the concept is still the same…preserve as much tooth as possible and the teeth will last longer. Dental restorations such as inlays, onlays and 3/4 crowns are all much better choices than a crown when adequate tooth structure is remaining. These are labor intensive compared to a crown but the type of dentistry most dentists would want for themselves. It’s just easier for dentists to prepare teeth for full crowns than these are other options. These restorations have the same fees as crowns and in some cases less than a full crown. The benefits range from less trauma to the tooth, thus decreasing the risk of root canals, more tooth to use in the future should something go wrong decades later and stronger teeth due to the amount of original tooth structure preserved while utilizing these techniques.
In most cases, there is a better choice than a full crown and your dentist should be able to provide this benefit for you.