Understanding the Difference and Uses of Dental Inlays and Onlays

Understanding the Difference and Uses of Dental Inlays and Onlays

Jun 08, 2021

When you start seeking treatment options in dentistry, you quickly learn that you cannot run out of options. There are many oral appliances available, ensuring that every patient gets what they prefer for their treatment.

In restorative dentistry, some of the oral appliances that people don’t know enough about are onlays and inlays. They are very effective in different restorative procedures, closely used as alternatives to dental fillings and dental crowns.

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

They are oral appliances similar to dental fillings that are used to repair and restore damaged teeth. Onlays and inlays feature porcelain material, which is tooth-colored so that it can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. They are often used as alternatives to dental fillings and even dental crowns. Burlington dentists employ the use of onlays and inlays on a need basis, or when patients are adamant about getting them instead of any other oral appliances.

What Is the Difference Between Them?

Dental inlays and onlays in Burlington, ON may serve similar purposes in dentistry, but they are different from each other. Inlays feature tooth fillings that fill a specific part of a tooth. Technically, when a tooth is damaged, to treat it, a dentist drills a hole thereof. The hole comes about after removing the damaged part of the tooth to leave the healthy part only. When a hollow is created, an inlay is used to fill it. Inlays only fill the insides of the hollow, without spreading over to the cusps of the teeth on the chewing surfaces.

On the other hand, onlays cover a much larger surface than inlays. Instead of only filling the hollow on a tooth, dental onlays fill the hollow as well as the cusps of teeth. They, however, only cover the top part of a tooth, that is, the chewing surface. In some cases, when the amount of onlay used is large enough to cover the entire chewing surface of a tooth, it is known as an overlay. The amount of coverage of onlays or overlays, however, cannot extend to the entire enamel of the tooth. For this reason, onlays and overlays are sometimes called partial crowns, because they work closely similarly to typical dental crowns.

When Are Onlays and Inlays Used?

When you have a diseased tooth, you just might be a candidate for only and inlays. It depends on how large the infection of your tooth is, and the kind of treatment your dentist deems fit for your procedure.

Tooth inlays are usually employed when the size of the infection on your tooth is small. The size is often too small to merit the use of a traditional dental filling. On other occasions, a traditional dental filling could still be used, but a patient decides to use inlays instead.

As for tooth onlays, they are employed when the size of the infection in your tooth is too big for a typical dental filling. In that case, your tooth would require more coverage to treat it. This is where overlays are employed. As such, the size of the infection is also not big enough to necessitate the use of a dental crown, unless if it is a preference of the patient in question.

Which Ones Should You Get?

When it comes to choosing an oral appliance for your treatment, it always boils down to personal preferences. The role of your dentist is to identify the different oral appliances that would be suitable for your treatment so that you can select the one that best pleases you. Some factors to help you determine what you want for your procedure are:

1. The extent of the damage – if your tooth is too damaged, an inlay may not be best suited for you. For this particular reason, heed the recommendation of your dentist for the best results.

2. Invasiveness of the procedure – placing a dental crown is more invasive than placing an inlay, onlay, or overlay. If you are very conservative, you may have to opt for an inlay over all the other alternatives.

3. Cost – talk to your dentist near you about the costs of each procedure before resolving for any of the oral appliances in question.

4. Aesthetics – typical dental crowns like silver fillings are not as esthetically appealing as inlays and onlays. Whichever application you choose, it should boost your cosmetic appearance when you smile.

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