The Pros and Cons of Dental Onlays vs Traditional Fillings

 In Family Dentistry

Dental onlays and traditional fillings are two common treatments for tooth damage. While both treatments can be effective, they offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. This post will explore the pros and cons of relying on dental onlays rather than traditional fillings to repair damaged teeth. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of these treatments, readers can decide what type of treatment is best for their needs.

Understanding Dental Onlays and Traditional Fillings

Dental onlays are a type of restoration that is used to repair teeth that have been damaged or decayed. Traditional fillings involve shaping and filling the damaged area with a tooth-colored composite material, but onlays require more extensive work. The dentist will remove the decayed or damaged area and use a special dental lab to create an acrylic resin inlay or onlay that fits over the remaining portion of the tooth. Onlays can also be made from porcelain or gold for additional strength and durability.

The Pros of Choosing Dental Onlays

Dental onlays offer several advantages over traditional fillings. They are more durable, providing enhanced protection against further damage. Onlays also allows the dentist to preserve more of the natural tooth structure, reducing the need for extensive drilling and reducing potential sensitivity in the area. Additionally, onlays offer a much more aesthetically pleasing result than traditional fillings; porcelain and gold onlays can be shaded to perfectly match your existing teeth, giving you a seamless smile.

The Onlay Process

Here are the general steps for adding dental onlays:

  1. Examination and preparation: The dentist will examine the affected tooth and determine if an onlay is the best solution. If an onlay is the preferred option, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay or damage and shaping it to accommodate the onlay.
  2. Impression: After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression of the tooth and the surrounding teeth. This impression will be used to create a custom-made onlay that fits the tooth perfectly.
  3. Temporary onlay: While waiting for the final onlay to be made, the dentist will place a temporary onlay onto the tooth to protect it from further damage.
  4. Fitting and bonding: Once the custom-made onlay is ready, the dentist will check the fit and make any necessary adjustments. When the onlay fits perfectly, it will be bonded onto the tooth with a dental adhesive.
  5. Polishing: The onlay will be polished to match the color and texture of the surrounding teeth, giving it a natural appearance.
  6. Final check-up: The dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that the onlay is functioning properly and the patient is comfortable with it.

Adding dental onlays typically involves two appointments and can be completed in a few weeks. Dental onlays can last for many years with proper care, providing a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution to tooth damage.

The Cons of Choosing Dental Onlays

Onlays are typically more expensive than traditional fillings because they require additional time and materials. Additionally, the process requires two or more appointments, making it more time-consuming than traditional fillings. Finally, onlays can have an effect on the surrounding teeth; for example, if your tooth has shifted due to decay or damage, a porcelain or gold onlay may be needed to ensure a proper fit.

Making the Decision

When deciding between dental onlays and traditional fillings, it is important to consult with a dentist. The dentist can assess your individual case and determine which treatment option is best for you. Finding a reputable dentist experienced in performing these types of procedures is also important. Ask questions about their experience and ensure they are comfortable with the procedure you are considering.

Dental onlays offer an aesthetically pleasing and durable solution for damaged teeth, but the process does require more time and money than traditional fillings. If you are considering dental onlays for your damaged tooth, it is important to consult with a qualified dentist and ask questions about their experience. Contact us today to learn more about dental onlays or schedule a consultation.

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