Inlays, Onlays, or Veneers?

 

Cosmetic_dentistrySometimes our teeth need a “Goldilocks” cosmetic dentistry solution – a restoration that’s not a major intervention, such as a crown or an implant, but is also not just a minor fix, such as a small filling. Dental inlays, onlays and veneers can be a “just right” answer to certain dental issues. To determine if this might be the case for you, it helps to understand their role in cosmetic dentistry treatment.

Here’s a brief summary of the similarities and differences between inlays, onlays and veneers.

Dental Inlays

  • Often done on the back teeth of the upper or lower jaw
  • Can be used like a filling to treat issues related to tooth decay
  • Used to fill the inner portion of the chewing surface of a tooth
  • Made most commonly out of gold, composite resin, or ceramics
  • Can be produced either in-office or at a dental lab, depending on whether a direct or indirect method is used to create the inlay
  • Can last as long as 30 years

Dental Onlays

  • Like inlays, often used on the back teeth to treat issues related to tooth decay
  • Commonly made with gold, composite resin, or ceramics
  • Used to fill the inner portion of the chewing surface of a tooth, plus at least one cusp of the tooth
  • Can be produced by either the indirect or direct method
  • Often referred to as a “partial crown
  • Can last as long as 30 years

Veneers

  • Often used on the front teeth in the “smile zone” of the mouth (upper or lower jaw)
  • Most commonly used to address minor issues with shade or shape
  • Often made of porcelain
  • Frequently produced in a dental lab
  • Veneers have a translucent quality that can make them look very similar to natural teeth
  • Can last 10 to 20 years

All three of these restorations are cemented to a patient’s existing tooth structure with a bonding material.

“One of the best things about cosmetic dentistry is that it can offer a full spectrum of solutions,” says Dr. Carol Ford, who practices cosmetic dentistry in her central Phoenix office. “Inlays, onlays and veneers can provide just the right amount of treatment for your dental needs.”

 

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