Restorative Procedures - Inlays & Onlays
Large failing fillings are usually treated full coverage restoration made with a stronger material. The most common treatment is dental crown. Dental crown requires extensive tooth reduction. A conservative alternative to a dental crown that treats large failing fillings is onlay restoration that does not require such tooth reduction. Historically inlays and onlays were manufactured from gold or porcelain. Today we have better materials (such as IPS IPS e.max® lithium disilicate glass ceramic) that provides highly esthetic result and maintains very high strength that allows minimum tooth reduction up to 0.4 mm thickness. Teeth treated with dental onlays usually do not require root canal treatment. Because restoration margins are away from gums such restorations are very kind to periodontal health.
Once tooth decay becomes extensive, a filling may not be strong enough to restore the tooth. In that case a stronger restoration is prescribed – the onlay, inlay or crown. Instead of “filling” the decayed portion of the tooth, a ceramic crown or onlay, made in a dental laboratory, is placed over the natural tooth; this reinforces the tooth. Onlays are more conservative than crowns as they cover only a portion of the tooth. Onlay margins are placed supragingivally (above the gum line) so as not to compromise periodontal health. Onlays are made from tooth-colored material and are color-matched to adjacent tooth structure.
An Onlay is a minimally invasive alternative to a crown.
Onlay versus Crown
Onlay is much more conservative alternative to dental crown. It is selected in most cases where tooth did not receive crown as a treatment in the past.