When the fracture or loss of tooth material is too significant, a filling often proves insufficient to preserve the tooth in the long term. Because the chewing surface is too severely affected, and the remaining tooth is not sufficiently protected against further fracturing. In these situations, your dentist will suggest a ceramic overlay or crown. This treatment is done in 2 steps. During the first session, all the bad tooth material is removed, and the bottom is sealed to prevent the infiltration of bacteria. After this, a scan or impression is taken for the dental lab. They will use this to reconstruct a new ceramic (porcelain, lithium silicate or zirconium) chewing surface for your tooth, and this is glued over your remaining tooth material in a 2nd treatment step. This is done in a very similar colour to that of your neighbouring teeth. This way, your tooth is 100% functional again and, you can chew everything without fear as if it was your own teeth. Unfortunately, Belgian health insurance does not provide any (or a limited) cover for these treatments. However, additional insurance such as a dental plan does cover these costs and can therefore be considered if your dentist indicates that you will need these restorations in the future. Experience proves that patients with large, old grey fillings will sooner or later experience fracturing of these teeth, after which a ceramic overlay or crown is required.
The lack of insurance cover for these often essential treatments remains an annoying issue in the Belgian health cover system, as often teeth are filled with composite for too long instead of placing a ceramic overlay. This can lead to irreparable fractures, losing the tooth and increasing the cost of tooth replacement.