When your tooth is cracked or fractured, a dental crown is often the best way to treat it. The tooth won’t heal, exactly, but the crown (or cap) can hold the tooth together and take the brunt of your bite pressure so that the tooth doesn’t become even more damaged. Sometimes, though, a tooth’s damage isn’t severe enough to require a complete dental crown. It may also be too much for tooth bonding to fix. In such cases, your dentist may recommend a partial crown, also known as an inlay or onlay, depending on its exact design.
Defining Inlays and Onlays
Partial crowns are similar to dental crowns in many ways. They’re also made from lifelike dental porcelain; they’re also designed using advanced digital imaging to ensure an optimal fit; and they’re also made to protect and preserve a maximum amount of your healthy tooth structure. The difference is that partial crowns don’t completely cover the crown of your tooth. Instead, an inlay can be designed to restore only the portion that lies between the raised cusps of your tooth’s chewing surface. An onlay can provide further protection by covering the top and side of the tooth.
The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
When a dental crown is placed, your dentist has to modify the tooth’s entire crown to accommodate the restoration. For a tooth that is only mildly damaged or worn down, this preparation can alter more of the tooth’s structure than is necessary, leaving the tooth structurally weak. The main benefit of placing a partial crown is that your dentist can fully restore your tooth’s function without unnecessarily altering any of its healthy, solid structure.
Find Out if a Partial Crown Is Right for You
If your tooth is too damaged for bonding, but doesn’t need a full dental crown, then you may benefit more from an inlay or onlay. To schedule a consultation, call Oxnard Dentistry in Oxnard, CA, today at (805) 604-9999. We also proudly serve patients from in and around Camarillo, Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Moore Park, and all surrounding communities.