If you have a severely damaged tooth that has been either broken, chipped, or cracked, then some sort of device needs to be created to protect the damaged portions of the tooth. This is where dental crowns come in. They are used to cap the tooth and to retain its strength so that the tooth does not need to be removed in the future. And, while full crowns are the most common, your dentist may decide to fit you with something called a 3/4 crown.
What Is A 3/4 Crown?
A 3/4 crown is a tooth cap or covering that covers three-quarters or three out of four sides or the tooth. Specifically, the crown is made to cover the entire biting edge, the sides, and the tongue positioned side of the tooth. This leaves the cheek side of the tooth natural and exposed.
Since the 3/4 crown leaves the front part of the tooth untouched, the crown is best used on teeth that have been chipped along the biting edge or side of the tooth. The damaged edge is where tooth material will be missing and also where your dentist will need to prepare the tooth for crown placement. In other words, if the tooth damage is more widespread or if the front has been cracked, then a full crown will be necessary.
The crown is typically made of porcelain alone with no underlying metal. This metal would be readily seen across the top of the tooth due to the placement of the device, which can reduce the aesthetic nature of the crown.
Are There Advantages To The Crown?
There are some advantages to choosing a 3/4 crown device over a full crown. The most significant benefit is the fact that far less of the natural tooth enamel and dentin need to be removed. Only the top, back, and side of the tooth are ground down to create space for the device.
And since less of the tooth is removed, your dentist may be able to forego advanced tooth treatments like the completion of a root canal. This may not be necessary, and this can allow for your tooth to remain alive once the crown is secured.
Keep in mind that temporary 3/4 crowns may not be nearly as secure as a temporary full crown device, so make sure that you can make your scheduled appointment to have the permanent crown placed once it is constructed.