Inlays & Onlays vs. Dental Crowns
If you have ever been told that you have tooth decay, then there is a good chance that you have considered your options on how to properly treat it. Depending on the severity and the location of the decay, you have choices on how to repair it. While some cavities can be treated with dental fillings, we here at Fairmount Dental Center may advise either an inlay, an onlay, or a dental crown. However, you may be wondering what the difference is between the three and which is better for your particular issue. The answer is that it does vary, but we are more than happy to explain it to you!
What is The Difference Between an Inlay, an Onlay, and a Dental Crown?
If you have broken your tooth and are missing a significant chunk of it, or if you have advanced tooth decay, then a normal dental filling may not be sufficient to help treat it. While fillings do serve a purpose, for larger areas of damage, you may need to choose an inlay, an onlay, or a crown.
An inlay is often confused for a filling, but it differs in many ways. A filling is only adequate in smaller areas of damage. In a larger area, it simply would not be able to stay in place after a duration of time. The size of the hole would cause the filling to become dislodged and lost. An inlay is also known as an “indirect” filling as we create it outside of your tooth in a dental lab.
A filling, on the other hand, is pressed directly into your tooth. Once we have your inlay made, we will adhere it to your damaged tooth with bonding material. An inlay is stronger than a filling and is less likely to expand and contract, making it a better option over fillings for many of our patients.
An onlay is somewhat similar to inlays, but it goes over a different portion of your tooth. While an inlay goes over the surface of your tooth and inside it, an onlay goes over the “cusps” (the pointy parts) of your teeth. This allows us to help rebuild any damaged portions of your teeth while protecting and treating the damaged tooth from decay. Like inlays, these can be made from a variety of materials such as porcelain or gold. Gold is stronger, but porcelain looks more like natural teeth.
Finally, we may offer a crown. A crown is a cap that fits over a tooth that has sustained significant damage. It not only improves the appearance of your damaged tooth, but it also makes it stronger. We advise crowns for severe tooth decay, after a root canal, or if you have a tooth that is weak or cracked. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, too, including porcelain and composite resin.
Learn More About Inlays, Onlays, Crowns and Oral Hygiene:
If you have teeth that may be suffering from tooth decay, it is important that you give us a call right away for an appointment. We can quickly assess the tooth for you and let you know what the best method of treatment is for your tooth. To learn more, or to set up an appointment today, please give us here at Fairmount Dental Center a call at (503) 362-8364.