Who Needs Indirect Or Direct Onlays?

Tooth decay is a condition that can be corrected with dental fillings. However, since it is asymptomatic, most of us do not address it with a sense of urgency until the damage has become extensive. When the decayed area is too large for fillings and too small to warrant the use of a crown, dental onlays or inlays are used.

What Is a Dental Onlay

A dental onlay is used in cases wherein the damage is too large for an inlay. This is a tooth restoration, which covers the entire occlusal or biting surface of a tooth. It is used in cases when there is cuspal fracture and further debridement can undermine the tooth structure.

This type of restoration protects it from fracture and breakage. It is a conservative treatment option because it requires minimal debridement of the remaining tooth structure. This is a preventative option that many dentists suggest to patients who have extensive caries, as it will lessen or prevent the eventual need for crowns, implants or bridges in the future.

Dr. Derek B. Hauser, DDS, is Well Known in Southern California as a Leading CEREC Cosmetic Dentist. Call (951) 244-9495 or Make an Appt for a Consultation.

Dental onlays can be fabricated from porcelain, gold or composite resin. The choice of material will vary based on factors like aesthetics, budget and the tooth involved. These days, composite resin and porcelain have become more popular, as they can be purchased in a wide variety of hues to match the rest of the teeth. However, please note that this will depend on the skill of the dentist as well. Dr. Hauser can make onlays that are virtually undetectable.

Types of Dental Onlays

There are two types of onlays, direct and indirect. They are classified based on the restoration procedure.

  • Direct Onlays

Direct onlays are formed within the oral cavity. After debridement of the carious lesion, the dentist puts composite resin on the tooth. It is molded and shaped to fit and then removed, as it has to be cured in an oven. The restoration is then cemented in place and polished. Please note that the dentist may have to shape it further to replicate the grooves. Failure to do so will result in premature contact from the upper or lower dentition. This can cause TMJ problems.

  • Indirect Onlays

Indirect onlays are made on a cast. Once the dentist removes the carious area, he or she will make an impression of the cavity preparation. This is sent to the laboratory that makes onlays and inlays, however, Dr. Hauser has an in-house laboratory using the latest Sirona CEREC equipment. This means most teeth are made within an hour.

If there is a special oral need, it will take a few days for the outside laboratory to complete the order. However, a temporary restoration is put in place to prevent contamination.

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Selection of Onlay

Although you should have a say with regard to the restoration and the materials used, it would be best to trust the dentist to make this decision. Choosing the right onlay will depend on your specifications, the strength of the remaining tooth structure and the size of the cavity. Your dentist may advise the use of porcelain in cases where the damage is too extensive.

Tooth decay should be treated right away. However, if you have put off your dental appointment for far too long, it can destroy a larger area of the tooth surface. Dental onlays should be put in place as soon as possible to save the existing tooth. Please keep in mind that this procedure is more affordable than dentures and implants.

A dental onlay can last for roughly 30 years, if the right technique and materials are used. This is why it would be best to enlist the help of Dr. Hauser, as he is a dental restoration expert using advanced CEREC cosmetic dental technology for over 11 years. For inquiries regarding dental onlays or other restorative concerns, please call (951) 244-9495 and speak with one of our patient coordinators or make an appointment online now.

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