How Does An Onlay Differ From A Crown?

Dentist Blog

When you damage a tooth, extraction isn't the only option. Cosmetic dentistry offers two ways of restoring a badly damaged tooth: onlays and crowns. While these two types of restoration are similar in how they restore a tooth, there are several notable differences between the two cosmetic treatments.

Onlays Only Cover Part of a Tooth

A dental crown covers the entirety of a damaged tooth. Essentially, the crown takes over the role of the tooth, while the tooth itself merely provides support from underneath the crown. An onlay only covers one cusp of a damaged tooth. If one of the cusps on a back tooth has broken, for instance, instead of using a crown to cover the entire tooth, you can opt for an onlay to cover a smaller section.

Onlays Sacrifice Less Tooth Structure

Before placing a crown over a tooth, a cosmetic dentist removes much of the tooth structure. This makes space for the crown to fit snugly over the tooth. Onlays only sacrifice a small section of a tooth around the damaged area. Onlays support existing tooth structure, while crowns cover all of a tooth's structure.

Onlays Are Slightly Cheaper

Onlays are smaller than dental crowns. This means that they are a cheaper option. But if your tooth is too badly damaged, an onlay won't be an option.

Onlays Can Replace a Large Filling

Eventually, fillings wear out. At that point, a dentist removes a little more tooth structure and then places another filling. But in time, there comes a point when placing another even larger filling into a tooth becomes too much of a risk. There is a chance that the filling could cause the tooth to break. Fortunately, a dentist can place an onlay over the exposed portion of the tooth instead of a filling.

Because onlays are composed of ceramic, they are stronger than fillings, which are usually made of amalgam or composite resin.

Onlays Are Slightly Harder to Place

Dental crowns require slightly less skill to place than onlays because they cover the entirety of a tooth. But because onlays only cover a portion of a tooth, they have to match the remaining natural tooth structure. Because of this, it's important that you choose a skilled cosmetic dentist.

Have you damaged a tooth recently? Then consult with a cosmetic dentist to find out which of these two treatments is best for you. Whatever you choose, one of these restorations will restore your tooth for years to come. Contact a cosmetic dentist for more information.


5 November 2020