When your tooth is not damaged enough to warrant a dental crown but is too damaged to be fixed by a tooth filling, the middle ground can be confusing. Luckily, inlays and onlays from our Washington, DC office can be a perfect solution.
A dental inlay and onlay are both similar kinds of restoration. An inlay is focused on filling in the area between the rounded edges, or cusps, that is located at the center of a tooth. A dental onlay is a bit larger and covers one or more cusp but could also cover the whole biting surface.
Inlays are smaller and fill in gaps between the rounded parts of a molar. Onlays are larger and sometimes referred to as ‘partial crowns’ when they cover more than half of the biting surface. Onlays can cost significantly less than a crown and if cared for properly, can last for decades.
Similarly to crowns, a more temporary, or indirect, onlay will be installed first. When your Washington, DC dentist removes the tooth decay, he or she will make an impression of the tooth, so the permanent, or direct, onlay is being made. During a follow-up appointment, the indirect onlay will be removed, and the direct onlay will be installed.
Inlays and onlays are a prime example of taking care of a dental situation before it becomes worse and becomes costlier. When a tooth is not properly treated using an inlay or an onlay, the decay can continue and result in needing a crown, root canal treatment or even extraction.