Getting a Dental Onlay vs. A Crown

Dental Restorations Mountain View, CA

When it comes to repairing cracks and breakage on the tooth’s surface, the choice of restorative treatment is sometimes between a dental onlay and a crown. These dental restorations are used to restore a tooth to its natural appearance and functionality. This article compares the onlay and crown and their application for restoring the teeth.

Overview of Onlay

A dental onlay is made from porcelain material and fits over a part of the tooth. An onlay is recommended when the damaged part of the tooth surface includes the cusps. The dentist will clean the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth and take impressions. The onlay is designed to match the rest of the tooth structure. Onlays are often called partial crowns because they look like crowns and involves the removal lesser portion of the tooth structure.

Although onlays do not provide the same level of protection as dental crowns, they still have significant advantages. When the tooth gets decayed extensively or has been filled too many times, its structure becomes affected. If the damage is too much for a filling but not extensive enough to warrant a dental crown, then a dental onlay might be the most appropriate choice.

Dental crowns

A dental crown is a porcelain or ceramic material that completely covers the outer structure of the tooth. A crown is recommended when over half of the occlusal or biting surface of the tooth is affected by the damage. Usually, a crown is used to replace the onlay, inlay or filling that has gotten damaged again and the restoration would be so large that the structural integrity of the tooth would be compromised.

To make the crown, the dentist will take impressions of the teeth after the initial preparation. Afterward, they will design a crown and customize it to match the surrounding teeth. Only then will the crown be cemented to the tooth.

The dentist will hardly use a crown for aesthetic purposes unless the tooth is damaged from causes like teeth grinding. Dental crowns are only great for cosmetic purposes when they also serve other uses, such as restoring the teeth to their natural shape or increasing their strength. Crowns are strong and durable, but the major drawback is that a significant portion of the enamel needs to be shaved down to place them.

Making the choice

The advantage that dental onlays have over crowns for restoration is that they are more conservative and require removing the affected part of the tooth only. This preserves more of the natural tooth structure and reduces treatment requirements. The dentist is better placed to determine if a crown or an onlay will be required for a restoration treatment. Some of the factors they will consider are previous dental work, the severity of the damage, the extent of tooth sensitivity and the urgency of the treatment.

These elements help the dentist decide if the dental onlay or crown will be the most effective to protect the tooth’s structure. To learn more about these dental restorations, book an appointment with the general dentist for a consultation.

Request an appointment here: or call Smiles Dental Care at (650) 563-1180 for an appointment in our Mountain View office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Restorations in Mountain View, CA.

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