An onlay or an inlay are two options that a dentist might explore if the decay on a tooth is too severe to be treated with fillings. Also called partial crowns, these indirect restorations are made from impressions of damaged teeth. They are cemented into place and provide a more durable solution than fillings.Here are…
What Is a Dental Onlay?
A dental onlay is a different treatment than you may be used to. It could be a more effective solution to your oral health and cosmetic needs than a filling or crown. Tooth decay and damage such as a chip, crack, or fracture can cause pain and lead to serious infections. These conditions can also affect your smile and appearance. Learning more about onlays can prepare you to make a good decision about your dental needs. You can also feel comfortable going into the procedure.
Common tooth problems and how they occur
A general dentist will frequently treat patients who have a variety of oral health issues. Cavities are among the most common. These develop when bacteria invade the enamel layer, causing decay. The decay can then reach deeper into the tooth, causing deterioration. Decay can also crack, chip, or break teeth because of the weakening of the enamel.
When people fail to brush and floss properly, bacteria stay on the teeth. This becomes plaque and then tartar. Physical damage can also be the result of biting into hard objects or suffer a blow to the face. This can be common in accidents and injuries from sports and other activities.
An overview of a dental onlay
An onlay is related to an inlay and similar in some ways to fillings and crowns. An onlay is pre-molded outside of the tooth by a technician in a lab. It fits in the inside and outside portions of the tooth, over the cusps. The dentist bonds the onlay to the tooth using dental cement. Light cures it to quickly harden it.
Onlays can come in a variety of materials. Many patients prefer porcelain, ceramic, or composite resin. These match the color of the tooth and improve the person’s smile. Metal onlays of gold and silver are not as aesthetically pleasing. However, these last longer and provide a stronger bite force.
Once the general dentist identifies the need for a dental onlay, the patient will need X-rays and impressions. These pictures show the technician the exact size and shape to make the onlay. Once the onlay is ready, the patient returns to the office. The dentist will numb the affected area so the patient will not feel any pain during the process. The dentist will remove any decay and bacteria from the tooth and prepares the tooth to receive the onlay. The dentist will then cement the piece to the tooth and polish and smooth it.
Treatment for different problems
A dental onlay can repair large cavities that fillings cannot support. It is also a good treatment for chips, cracks, and fractures. Some people may even choose an onlay as an alternative to teeth whitening. An onlay can also work when a person is unhappy with the shape of a tooth.
Change your smile with this lasting restoration
Fillings and crowns are not the only options you have for repairing damage or decay. Talk to your dentist about what else is available. Your dentist may recommend getting a dental onlay. As you can see, this treatment can be an effective way to help you feel and look good once more.
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