Crown Under Partial - First Choice Dental Lab

A Better Way to Fit a Crown Under a Partial Denture

When a patient comes in needing a crown to fit under an existing partial, it’s normal for anxiety to kick in for both you, and your patient.

But why is that?

Well, traditional impression and fabrication methods once meant you only had a few options – none of them particularly appealing.

However, as technology progresses, new & improved methods are available.

Let’s examine some of the traditional methods of the past, the problems they caused, and  a better alternative to fit a crown under a partial denture.

Traditional methods to fit a crown under a partial.

In the past, your first option was to take an impression of the partial in place around the prepped tooth, and send it to your lab. Unfortunately, this typically meant your patient remained without their partial denture for extended periods of time.

Alternatively, your second option was to take a clasp index around the prep. This would show your lab what the clasp looks like.

Although this normally alleviated the need for your patient to give up their partial, it often resulted in chairside adjustments. After all, the lab only has the contour and shape of the clasp – not the path of insertion or additional data. These are small, but critical details.

Fortunately, these methods to fit a crown under a partial no longer constrain dentists like yourself and your patients.

Technology is paving the way forward with an incredible new option: digital scanning technology.

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Intraoral Scanners streamline the process

Intraoral scanners revolutionized the way dentists examine patients and create dental impressions.

Now, when you need to fit a crown under a partial, these digital impressions eliminate the concerns of past.

Utilizing your intraoral scanner (IOS), you can capture the shape of the tooth prior to prepping it. Then, your lab can design the crown to match what was already there in the mouth.

So, the next time you find yourself prepping a crown to fit under a partial already in place, stop and get a pre-op scan of the existing tooth, first.

While this is always a good practice – whether a partial is involved or not – in this situation, it’s a critical step. This way, your patient can leave with their partial.

Start off by taking a traditional impression of the pre-op, so you can make a temporary crown that fits the partial. Then, have your assistant take a pre-op scan of the existing tooth prior to prepping.

You can even evaluate the tooth to see if additional retention is needed, add some composite to it where needed, check the fit of the partial, and scan this tooth.

Then, prep the tooth as you normally would. Scan this as your prep, and send the scans to your lab. Be sure to include notes on the digital lab slip that you want to match the pre-op scan exactly because it fits under a partial.

This even works when the patient has a nightguard, sleep appliance, or clear aligners.

This is just one of the many advantages digital impressions bring to your dental practice.

In fact, if your lab is digital but you don’t have an IOS, you can still benefit from digital workflows.

Simply send that pre-op impression with your traditional impression and ask the lab to copy the pre-op exactly. Just be sure to capture the same number of adjacent teeth in the pre-op that you do in the prep impression. In this manner, there’s no need to send the partial.

Key Takeaways


The benefits & efficiency of digital impressions and digital workflows in your dental practice and lab are very real. And, they benefit both you and your patient.

In instances like this, when a crown needs to fit under a partial, prove their worth.

Not only is the process sped up, but your gets to keep their partial during the process. Not only that, but it results in fewer chairside adjustments as well.

Just make sure you give clear, direct instructions to your lab, and describe that the crown must fit under a partial. As with most dental procedures, communication is key!

In no time at all, you and your patient will both end up with a smile.



About First Choice Dental Lab

First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.

We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. We create smiles based on your needs and budget.

We’re here to help you give your patients a reason to smile!

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