Onlay vs. Crown

Although dental crowns are commonly used to treat weakened or damaged teeth,  in many cases a more conservative option would be just as effective. Placing a crown requires the reduction of a significant amount of existing tooth structure. Unnecessarily removing your healthy tooth structure is simply not in the best interests of you, the patient. In many cases, dental onlays can repair large cavities without the removal healthy portions of the tooth.

Consider the future of your teeth.

For onlays, the restoration is shaped to fit your tooth, but for crowns, the tooth is shaped to fit the restoration, reducing much of the natural structure. If the restoration fails in the future and decay sets in under the crown, there isn’t much tooth structure left to work with. Many times, a root canal treatment would be required because there is no enamel protecting the tooth thereby allowing the decay to spread more quickly under the crown. That would be followed by building up the tooth structure enough to place another crown. In some cases, the tooth isn’t viable enough for a root canal treatment and it has to be extracted. If an onlay fails, the decayed portion can be removed and another onlay placed.


The advanced materials that are available today allow the doctor to create restorations that essentially reconstruct a healthy tooth. The materials bond to the tooth structure, providing strength and sealing out bacteria. The result is teeth that look, act, and feel like natural, untreated teeth, and they will last a very long time with effective oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.

Dr. Kerikorian is an expert in the field of conservative dentistry and will make sure your smile shines bright! Make an appointment today!