Are Inlays And Onlays Better Than Crowns?

Doctor explaining a procedure. Caption: Inlays, Onlays, and Crowns - Which is the best option for you?

Should you have a cavity or broken tooth, you might know it is there because you might be able to see it or even feel it with your tongue. It may be tender to touch, and it will be rough across the surface. Sometimes you can smell a cavity on your breath. When you notice something isn’t right, you need to get in touch with us as soon as possible. There are different treatments that may be used, including crowns, onlays, and overlays. There is no right or wrong approach; it all depends on your circumstances and what we feel is going to be right for you. With that being said, read on to discover more about the differences between these different options. 

Inlays & Onlays

These are often referred to as “three-quarter crowns” or “lab-made fillings” because of their design. Basically, they look a bit like a partial dental crown, with a portion, usually between a quarter and a third, of your natural tooth still exposed. To understand why this sort of treatment would be required, you need to know why a filling would not be suitable. Fillings, as the name indicates, are designed to fill in a small area of tooth decay. If that eroded or broken area is too big, it would only fall out or break off after a while because of the structural design. 

So, what is the difference between onlays and inlays? An inlay will go inside of the tooth where a big part has been hollowed out. On the other hand, an overlay will go over areas like the cusps (points) of your teeth, rebuilding the structure while also repairing any damage. As with a crown, both onlays and inlays can be made out of the likes of gold, zirconia, and porcelain. The main benefit of going for one of these options instead of a crown is that as much of your natural tooth will be preserved as is possible. They complement the remaining healthy enamel, meaning the procedure is less invasive. 

Dental Crowns

Now, let’s take a look at dental crowns. Let’s say your area of decay or fracture has had an impact on most of a tooth. If you were to use one of the approaches mentioned above, there may still not be enough healthy enamel for ongoing chewing and biting forces to be supported. It can often seem fine at first, but your tooth could end up splitting in two. This is why a crown is needed for this situation. This involves using a full crown to encase the tooth and protect its integrity. 

So there you have it: an insight into the main treatment options that are available if you break a bit of your tooth. As you can see, there is no better option; it is all about making sure that you go for the treatment that is right based on your case. This is something that we will definitely explain to you in full while examining your teeth. Please schedule an appointment with us today if you suspect you have a cavity. 

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