What is an onlay?
An onlay is a type of dental restoration that gives a tooth extra support. It does not require removing too much of the patient’s natural tooth. This is often recommended when a composite filling will not work. Sometimes, a composite filling does not provide the patient with enough support for restoring a tooth. However, the damage may not be bad enough to require using a crown.
An onlay is a solid piece of material that is attached to the tooth when there is a hole from decay. An onlay fits over the biting surface of the tooth. This is different from an inlay. An inlay is smaller and fits in the center of the tooth.
Fillings vs. onlays
A composite dental filling and an onlay fills the gap that is left after decay is removed. The purpose of the two is the same. This means that both provide support to the tooth, so it is strong once more. The difference is in the way the two provide the support.
For smaller amounts of decay, a dental filling is a fast and easy process. It can happen on one visit to the dentist. The dentist will shape and mold the filling material so it will fill the cavity. This can help prevent tooth decay in the future. However, if the decay was large, this may not work as well.
An onlay is a good option for patients who do not need dental crowns. However, like a dental crown, the onlay will be customized to the tooth. That way, it will fit the tooth and not cause issues with the patient’s bite. This does mean that the patient will need to have at least two office visits.
At the first visit, patients will have impressions of the teeth taken. The impression will then be sent to a lab. The lab will create the restoration for the tooth. A few weeks later, patients will come back for the second visit. This is when the onlay will be cemented in place.
Visit your dentist today for a dental filling
In general, a filling is used when there is not as much decay as for an onlay. It can be hard for you to estimate how large the decay is. For this reason, it is a good idea to visit your dentist, who can help you decide which restoration is right for you. Each type has its pros and cons. A filling does not take as many office visits, but an onlay may provide more protection for your tooth. The type of tooth will also play a role in the decision.
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