Dental Inlays and Onlays
When are Dental Inlays and Onlays Used?
When more than a third of a tooth’s biting surface is damaged, a dentist will often use a dental inlay or onlay. The tooth damage is too severe to support a filling but not severe enough for a dental crown, so you end up somewhere in the middle.
If your dentist recommends an Inlay or an Onlay, ACT FAST!
Inlays and Onlays are considered to be conservative restorations compared to crowns, bridges and implants. If you are a candidate for restoring a tooth with an Inlay/Onlay, don’t hesitate! Tooth decay doesn’t stop or reverse… it ONLY gets worse, so what can be treated now with a conservative approach WILL ALWAYS become more difficult to restore if treatment is put off. Inlay/Onlay candidates have a small window of opportunity to get treatment before the treatment plan has to be more aggressive with crowns, root canals, bridges, etc.
Dental Inlay/Onlay VS. Crown or Filling
Crowning a damaged tooth unnecessarily removes more natural tooth structure than needed…and it’s always best to maintain your natural teeth if when possible. Using a large filling to replace a damaged, decayed portion of the tooth compromises the integrity of the tooth and can lead to breakage, cracking and/or further treatment like a root canal. Inlays and onlays protect teeth similarly as crowns, but conserve more natural tooth structure and are a better match to your tooth’s natural color.
What is the Difference between an Inlay and an Onlay?
Whereas dental inlays are designed to treat decay within the cusps, or top projections, of a tooth, onlays are used to treat decay that extends to one or more of the cusps.