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Dental Onlays in Washington, DC

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A beautiful, stunning smile can't be achieved with decayed, cavity-filled teeth. That's why dental onlays are an extremely effective dental treatment used to repair cavities and tooth decay by replacing one or more decayed cusps, or the bumps, on the tooth’s surface. When the skilled dentists at Washington Center for Dentistry determine that a tooth is too damaged for a filling, they will use dental onlays as a viable solution. Larger in size than a dental inlay and made from gold, porcelain or resin, this treatment is effective in restoring larger cavities. Onlays are long-lasting, and with proper maintenance and care, they can last up to 30 years.

What Are the Benefits?

Here's a riddle for you: what restoration treatment is between a filling and a crown? An onlay, of course, and it offers some distinct advantages! When a damaged tooth is capped unnecessarily with a crown, more tooth structure is removed than needed. This leads to more trouble down the road. When a large dental filling is used to repair a cavity, the tooth’s structure can be further weakened, which puts you at-risk for more painful, unsightly symptoms, such as a cracked or broken tooth that could require a root canal. An onlay forgoes all of these issues, while effectively repairing the damaged tooth. Once the onlay is in, all you have to do is enjoy your beautifully restored teeth.

Indirect vs. Direct Onlays

Onlays are distinguished between "indirect" and "direct." As an informed patient, we think that it's important that you know the difference, as well as the process involved in each.

Indirect Onlays. With indirect onlays, one of our talented dentists will first remove any tooth decay. An impression of the tooth will then be made to be sent to the In-House Dental Lab. While the onlay is being created, a temporary filling will be put into the tooth. When the onlay is ready, the filling will be taken out and the onlay will be cemented on. Now, you can confidently smile from ear to ear.

Direct Onlays. With direct onlays, decay is first removed and then one of our dentists will fill the tooth with a soft material, composite resin. Using advanced imaging, the dentist will take a picture of the affected tooth in order to create and apply the onlay. Your tooth will be good as new and in some cases, even better than before!

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Dental Onlays FAQ

When does a tooth need an onlay?
Dental onlays are typically recommended for a tooth that has too much decay or damage to be repaired by a filling or if the structure of the tooth is weakened to the point where a filling may crack it. Dental onlays allow more of the tooth’s structure to be saved, preserving its durability and lifetime.

Does getting a dental onlay hurt?
Getting a dental onlay is very similar to getting a filling or having a crown placed. Most patients experience little to no discomfort during the procedure. At Washington Center for Dentistry, our experienced doctors combine a gentle touch with the latest local anesthetics and sedation options to ensure you remain comfortable during your visit with us. After the onlay is placed, some patients may experience mild tooth sensitivity as the tooth adjusts, but this is usually temporary and typically goes away quickly.

How long does it take to get an onlay?
Dental onlays are placed in two office visits. During the first visit, a mold is made of the tooth so our in-house lab can create the onlay. The tooth is then prepped, and a temporary filling is placed. When your custom-made onlay is ready, you’ll come back to have it placed. Both visits generally take about 45 minutes each.

How long do dental onlays last?
How long a dental onlay lasts depends on a number of factors, including the size of the repair, oral health, and more. Generally, most patients can expect an onlay to last up to 20 years or longer in some cases. With regular dental exams and good oral hygiene, some patients have even seen an onlay last up to 30 years.

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Learn More About Dental Onlays

The Washington Center for Dentistry is located in the heart of D.C. We have a caring, compassionate team of board-certified dentists and dental assistants who will ensure your visit is efficient and that your treatment is customized for you. Dental Onlays are a proven way to regain a healthy, beautiful smile. Call our office today and schedule your consultation and we'll be happy to assist you and make you feel right at home.