Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. We use them to repair teeth that have large cracks, cavities, or are otherwise severely damaged. Inlays and onlays protect teeth in a similar way to dental crowns but are smaller and more isolated. Because of this, we can conserve more of your natural tooth structure by using one of these methods instead of a crown.
What Is the Difference Between an Inlay, an Onlay, and a Crown?
We use inlays, onlays, and crowns to repair broken, decayed, or damaged teeth. Inlays and onlays are small and only cover a small portion of the biting surface of a tooth. A crown is larger and covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.
If a tooth only has minor damage on the biting surface, and none of the cusps are damaged, we will place an inlay onto the tooth to repair the area and provide support. If the damage is more extensive, and one or more of the cusps are damaged, we will use an onlay instead. Because onlays are larger, we can fix broader areas of damage with this option.
We often use crowns to fix widespread or severe tooth damage. If a tooth is broken, has a large filling, or is otherwise very damaged, we will place a dental crown over the biting surface to restore the appearance and function of the tooth. Because crowns are so large, we will need to remove some of the enamel from your tooth to make room for its new cap.
What Is the Procedure?
To begin, we will remove any damaged or decayed material from your tooth. Once your tooth has been treated and sanitized, we will take an impression of the area. We will design your inlay or onlay to match your natural tooth’s shape, size, and color. When your inlay or onlay has been created, we will attach it to your tooth with permanent dental glue.
Your inlay or onlay should look and feel like a natural tooth. If you experience any discomfort, please call our office right away so we can make any necessary adjustments.
How Do I Care for My Inlay or Onlay?
Just like your natural teeth, your restoration can become stained or damaged over time. To avoid this, continue brushing and flossing daily and try not to bite into anything hard such as ice, popcorn kernels, or olive pits.
To learn more about inlays and onlays, call our office today at 614-885-1215. We would be happy to schedule a consultation!