I was planning to start Invisalign next month, but my hygienist noticed two cracks in my upper first molar, so Invisalign has to wait. After an appointment with an endodontist who recommended a crown, my dentist used bonding on the tooth as a more conservative approach. Now the tooth is sensitive, and chewing on it hurts. I want this resolved so I can get Invisalign. Should I ask for a crown or an onlay or find a dentist to see me this week for a second opinion? Thank you. Kiera from Austin, TX
Your dentist or endodontist may review the X-ray again to reevaluate your tooth’s condition. You may still feel discomfort and sensitivity in the tooth if it is not fully repaired. An accurate diagnosis depends on these factors:
- The crack’s location
- The crack’s length and depth
- Whether the damage is horizontal or vertical
Will a Dentist Recommend a Crown or an Onlay?
A dentist recommends a crown or an onlay depending on the tooth’s condition and position. Although an onlay or a crown can restore a tooth, we explain the differences.
An onlay is a custom-made restoration that replaces only the damaged portion of your tooth, but not all dentists offer onlays. An onlay covers one or more cusps or peaks of a tooth; it can be gold, ceramic, or porcelain. A porcelain onlay may not be strong enough to restore a cracked tooth. A dentist may recommend a gold onlay or a dental crown.
A dental crown is a dental restoration that covers the entire tooth from the gumline up. An extensive crack may require root canal treatment and a dental crown. Or, if you already had a crown on a tooth, you could only receive another crown versus other treatment options.
Repeated attempts to restore the tooth will further weaken it. Speak with your dentist again to ask about your symptoms and the condition of your tooth and treatment recommendations before scheduling an urgent appointment for a second opinion.
David Finley, DDS, a Monroe, Louisiana, accredited cosmetic dentist and Academy of General Dentistry Fellow, sponsors this post. Read about what Dr. Finley and his team do to provide some of the best dental care in Monroe.