When Should I Get Dental Onlays?

Posted on: August 3, 2019

If you have a damaged tooth, you are likely deciding between dental onlays, inlays, fillings and crowns. Each option can restore the tooth, but in many cases, an onlay is the right choice. Find out when you should choose an onlay for your dental restoration.

When to select an onlay

Dentists assess the damage to the tooth before recommending a restoration option. Depending on the degree of damage, patients might be good candidates for onlays.

Choosing between a filling and an onlay

If there is a small amount of tooth decay, the dentist will likely recommend a filling. The dentist will remove the decay and put the composite filling in its place. Composite fillings work well for small restorations when the tooth’s structure has not been affected by the decay.

However, if the decay has penetrated deep into the tooth or there is a large fracture, the dentist will likely recommend an onlay. Onlays cover the tooth’s ridges and cusps, but unlike a crown, it does not cover the entire surface. It provides more strength than a filling and will not contract or contrast due to temperature changes.

People who choose to get a filling for a large fracture or deep decay run the risk of the tooth breaking. This happens because fillings are not strong enough to support a damaged tooth.

Choosing between an inlay and an onlay

Patients who only have damage to the top of the tooth can get an inlay. Inlays are used for small restorations to the center and biting surface of the tooth. Onlays cover the biting surface, but also replace damaged cusps. Both provide the same benefits, including durability and tight fit. The right choice depends on the extent of the damage.

Choosing between a crown and an onlay

Onlays are referred to as partial crowns. They cover much of the tooth, but do not surround and cover the entire tooth. Both crowns and onlays are used when there is a significant amount of damage.

Since dental onlays are less invasive and preserve more of the tooth’s structure, dentists recommend onlays when possible. Generally, dentists recommend onlays when some but not all of the tooth’s cusps have been damaged by decay. Conserving as much of the tooth structure is critical. Dental restorations last years, but typically fail and need to be replaced. It might be decades later, but this can still cause an issue if the previous restoration was aggressive.

Decay often forms around a restoration when it fails, meaning that more of the tooth must be removed. Onlays leave more of the tooth structure in place, making it easier to remove the decay without putting as much stress on the tooth. This makes it less likely for people to need implants down the road.

Do you need dental onlays?

Dental onlays are preferred over crowns and fillings when possible. These restorations provide more support than fillings. Also, you will keep more of the tooth’s natural structure than you would with a crown. A dentist will help you make the right choice for your restoration.

Are you considering dental onlays in the New York area? Get more information at https://www.ny1dentist.com.

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