Dental Veneers vs Inlays and Onlays

Woman smiling with dental veneers
A woman smiling with dental veneers. Caption: Veneers are beautiful; the perfect choice for straight and nicely shaped teeth.

There are so many different dental treatments available for people today. It can almost seem impossible to know where to begin when it comes to selecting the right dental treatment. Luckily, you have experienced dentists who will assess the damage and make their expert recommendations.

However, you may want to know why we recommend a specific type of treatment and not something that you may have read about or heard about from one of your friends. With that in mind, we are going to take a look at veneers, as well as inlays and onlays, giving you a better understanding of each treatment and when it is appropriate. 

One thing that all three of these treatments have in common is that they are cemented to the existing tooth using a bonding material. They involve different approaches, and a recommendation from your dentist will be provided based on where the tooth is and the type of damage.

Dental Veneers

Let’s begin by taking a look at dental veneers that cover your front teeth, known as the smile zone. They usually address minor issues in terms of tooth shape or shade. Dental veneers made of porcelain but look very similar to natural teeth and produced in a lab. This is because of their translucent quality. They can last anywhere from ten to 20 years, so long as you look after them properly. 


Next, we have dental onlays that treat the back teeth for issues linked to tooth decay. Onlays fill the inner portion of the tooth’s chewing surface plus at least one cusp of the tooth. They are made with ceramics, composite resin, or gold. Onlays are created using either the direct or indirect method. They can last as long as 30 years and you may also hear them referred to as a partial crown.


Finally, we have dental inlays that treat the back teeth of the lower or upper jaw. They are similar to onlays but differ in regards to where they are placed. Inlays can last for as long as 30 years, and also made from ceramics, composite resin, or gold.

You now have a better understanding of the three different treatment options. They all serve different purposes and can be helpful in different scenarios. This is why a consultation with your dentist is always the most critical part. He or she will be able to assess the damage to your teeth and then make their expert recommendations regarding which solution is going to be right for you. 

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