When Is a Dental Onlay Better Than a Crown?

When it comes to dental restorations, there are several options available to address damaged or decayed teeth. While dental crowns are a common choice, there’s another alternative that might be a better fit for certain situations: dental onlays. But when is an onlay better than a crown?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between dental onlays and crowns and discuss the scenarios where an onlay might be the preferred option. So, let’s dive in and discover when a dental onlay is better than a crown for restoring your smile.

Understanding Dental Onlays and Crowns

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s clarify what dental onlays and crowns are. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that completely covers a damaged or decayed tooth, while a dental onlay is a partial restoration that covers the damaged area of the tooth. 

While both options can strengthen and restore teeth, they differ in terms of the extent of tooth preparation and the level of coverage provided.

When Is an Onlay Better Than a Crown?

There are a variety of situations where an onlay may be a better option than a crown. Let’s look at some of the top ones below.

Preservation of Tooth Structure

One of the primary advantages of dental onlays is their ability to preserve more natural tooth structure compared to crowns. Onlays require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure as they only cover the damaged portion, leaving the healthy tooth intact. 

This conservative approach is particularly beneficial when the damage or decay is limited to a specific area.

Suitable for Large Fillings

A dental onlay is often a suitable choice when the tooth has a large filling or extensive damage that extends beyond what a regular filling can effectively repair. 

Instead of removing the entire filling or compromising the tooth’s structure with a crown, an onlay can be custom-made to fit precisely over the damaged area, providing a strong and durable restoration.

Protecting Weak Teeth

If a tooth is weakened due to decay or previous restorations, an onlay can be an excellent option. By covering the vulnerable areas, onlays provide added protection and strength to the tooth. 

This can be especially advantageous for teeth at risk of fracture or further damage.

Preserving Aesthetics

When it comes to the cosmetic aspect, dental onlays offer an advantage over crowns. While crowns require the entire tooth to be reshaped to accommodate the restoration, onlays preserve the natural tooth structure, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. 

Plus, onlays can be precisely colour-matched to blend seamlessly with the surrounding teeth, creating a natural and beautiful smile.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to restoring damaged or decayed teeth, dental onlays offer a conservative and effective alternative to dental crowns. With their ability to preserve natural tooth structure, suitability for large fillings, protection of weak teeth, and aesthetic advantages, onlays can be the preferred choice in specific situations. 

However, it’s essential to consult with your dentist to determine the best treatment option for your individual needs. Your dentist will evaluate the extent of damage, consider your oral health goals, and recommend the most suitable restoration for your smile. Remember, whether it’s an onlay or a crown, restoring your teeth can help you achieve a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile.

Think you might benefit from a dental onlay? We’d be happy to help! Click here to get in touch with Shelburne Village Dental, and book your appointment today.

Our patients will always be our first priority. We are devoted to creating an exceptional experience with every patient that walks into our office.

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