Dental onlays represent a relatively common dental procedure that is used to restore the look and function of broken or damaged teeth. When a filling is insufficient for fixing the tooth, dentists will generally recommend porcelain onlays or dental crowns. Porcelain onlays are especially useful when a tooth is prone to fracture because a large portion of the tooth is missing or broken. These dental fixtures cover most or all of the chewing surface of your tooth and provides added strength and durability so the tooth is less likely to suffer further damage.
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Dental onlay procedure versus Dental Crowns
Onlays are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to crowns. Cracked, decayed, or otherwise damaged teeth can be treated both by onlays and crowns, but many dentists recommend onlays because this procedure is a much more conservative approach. With dental crowns, your dentist will generally grind down the remaining surface of the tooth to allow for the crowns to be attached. Alternatively, these methods are seen as a tooth saving procedure because the structure of the tooth is usually preserved. Indeed, whereas crowns surround the entire tooth, all the way to the gum line, porcelain onlays cover only those parts of the tooth that are damaged or weak and typically do not extend to the gum line.
As mentioned, one of the major benefits of onlays is that they are designed to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. Also, patients tend to prefer this method because they are considerably less likely to irritate the gums than dental crowns. As crowns often reach right to the gum line they can irritate the gums and have even been implicated in contributing to gum disease. Furthermore, with porcelain onlays, patients will find it easier to keep the tooth, onlay, and gum line clean. Finally, they look and feel natural and are the ideal choice for patients who want to maintain an impeccable smile.
Despite the numerous advantages associated with onlays procedure, there are some drawbacks as well. Namely, they can be difficult to place correctly so you should always be sure that your dentist has extensive experience with this procedure. Also they are not as strong as either gold or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, and as such they are slightly more susceptible to cracking. Still, when applied by a qualified dental expert, porcelain onlays can provide a long-term solution to broken, cracked, or damaged teeth while preserving your remaining tooth structure.