When Does the Dentist Recommend Onlays or Inlays vs Bioclear?

Onlay, inlays, and Bioclear all restore teeth

Finding the right solution for reviving a damaged tooth.

Life isn’t always so kind to our teeth. We might accidentally chip a tooth, develop a cavity, or experience some other type of damage. Thankfully there is a plethora of cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry solutions your dentist can choose to repair a damaged or worn tooth. While some solutions seem obviously different, such as a simple dental filling versus a dental crown, others like onlays, inlays, and Bioclear may be more confusing.

To help you better understand these three specific cosmetic dentistry options, we’re going to explain what they are, how they function, and why your dentist is likely to recommend one over the other.

The What, How, and Why of Onlays and Inlays

What are onlays and inlays?

Onlays and inlays are similar to fillings in that they repair damage on molars without totally encapsulating the tooth, like a dental crown. The difference between an onlay and an inlay? They are nearly identical except an onlays extend to the edges or cusps of a molar while an inlay lays within the center.

How do onlays and inlays work?

The process of getting an onlay or inlay is fairly similar to a filling. Your dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and weakened enamel, leaving only healthy and stable enamel. Using ceramic or composite resin, your dentist will then apply your onlay or inlay to the damaged area. 

Why choose onlays or inlays?

Onlays and inlays are often chosen as alternatives to fillings or crowns. Inlays make an ideal alternative to fillings when the damage is localized only on the top of a molar. They provide protection with minimal invasiveness. Similarly, onlays can replace the need for a full crown in some situations. If the tooth is stable enough to not necessarily need a crown, an onlay will often be chosen instead. In fact, they are sometimes referred to as “partial crowns”.

The What, How, and Why of Bioclear

What is Bioclear?

Bioclear is an innovative form of cosmetic dentistry similar to veneers, but with its own unique advantages and treatment process. The Bioclear method utilizes a special dental composite to change the shape, size, and color of your teeth to either match your existing smile or give your entire visible smile a new appearance. Bioclear covers the entire front surface of each tooth that is treated, right up to the gum line.

How does Bioclear work?

Bioclear has a minimally invasive treatment process, which means your natural teeth won’t have to undergo excessive enamel removal or any permanent changes. Your dentist will first prep your teeth by gently pushing back the gums and performing an extremely thorough cleaning. From there mylar forms will be placed on your teeth and the special resin composite will be painlessly injected between the mylar and your tooth. A UV light will be used to cure the material and then the treated tooth will be shaped and polished.

Why choose Bioclear?

Bioclear is extremely versatile, kind to natural teeth, and allows patients to get a smile makeover in a single appointment. You can use the Bioclear Matrix method on your entire visible smile or only on a few specific teeth that need some help. 

In the case of choosing between Bioclear or an onlay/inlay, you would likely lean toward Bioclar if the tooth is damaged and also in need of a cosmetic change due to flaws in shape or size.

Which Solution Your Dentist May Recommend

A great dentist will have three factors in mind when deciding on a procedure for a patient. Firstly, the procedure must repair the damage and protect the tooth from further harm. Secondly, the procedure must look both natural and yield long-lasting results. Thirdly, the procedure should match the patient’s own desires or goals.

With those three things in mind, your dentist will determine whether onlays, inlays, or bioclear are the best fit for you.

Your dentist will likely recommend an inlay if:

  • The extent of the damage is limited to the center of the chewing surface.
  • The damage is too much for a filling but not significant enough for a crown.
  • If minor decay is beginning to form but a full filling isn’t necessary.

Your dentist will likely recommend an onlay if:

  • The damage extends from the center chewing surface to the cusps.
  • The damage isn’t significant enough for a crown but too wide for an inlay.

Your dentist may instead recommend Bioclear if:

  • The damage extends to most of the visible surface of the tooth.
  • You are unhappy with the shape, size, or color of the tooth.
  • You are interested in a smile makeover.
  • More than one successive tooth needs help.

Find out if onlays, inlays, or Bioclear are the best choice for your smile.

While the above information can help you get an educated idea of which procedure might be best, the only way to know for certain is to see a dentist. Your dentist has unique knowledge of the shape and structure of your teeth and can determine whether an onlay, inlay, or Bioclear will yield the best results possible. To schedule your consultation at Valley Dental Clinic, you can call our Wasilla, AK office or use this online form.