Some cosmetic dental procedures today involve removal of metal dental fillings and replacing the filling with sculpted dental porcelain that closely resembles the natural tooth enamel, both in appearance and in strength. Furthermore, they can be made to match the natural color of the tooth, which is much more visually appealing that the older metal or amalgam fillings.
A dental inlay acts as a cosmetic replacement for a large filling, sitting in the center or chewing part of the tooth, in the grooves between the cusps. Whereas, an onlay covers not only the center grooves of the tooth, but also one or both of the cusps. Inlays and onlays are typically useful when there is a large amount of damage done to a tooth, but not enough to require the placement of a crown.
Inlays are usually smaller restorations, or filling replacements. Onlays are for much larger restorations, for which they are sometimes called partial crowns, wherein their durability adds strength to support the structure of the tooth. An inlay or onlay is a more conservative treatment than the application of a full crown and is virtually unnoticeable with today’s materials.
A crown basically replaces, or covers, the entire structure of the original tooth, down to the level of the gum. A crown can be either a restorative necessity or of cosmetic value because, not only do they restore and strengthen the structure of the original tooth but they also have a natural esthetic appearance. When tooth decay or trauma has destroyed the majority of the original tooth, a crown restoration is usually the preferred option. Your local dental professional will help you determine which level of restoration is best suited for your individual needs.
Posted on behalf of Dan Myers
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