A Dental Crown May Not Always Be the Best Solution
If you have a tooth that needs repair, it’s ideal if you can retain as much of the tooth structure as possible. This will give you the best chance for the tooth to remain functional for the long term. Many instances of tooth decay can be treated with small fillings, and these procedures will have minimal impact on the strength of the tooth and its resistance to further decay. However, sometimes decay can progress to the extent that a significant amount of the tooth structure is affected. Capping a damaged tooth with a dental crown can involve removing a good amount of tooth structure. If this is not absolutely necessary, it’s in your best interest to consider other options.
What’s the Difference Between an Inlay and an Onlay?
The primary difference between a dental inlay and a dental onlay is how much of the tooth is involved in the treatment.
A dental inlay fills only the space at the center of the tooth surface, between the cusps (the raised areas on the edges of the teeth in the back of your mouth).
A dental onlay covers more of tooth. This can include one or more cusps, or possibly the entire biting surface of the tooth.
Options for Materials and Appearance
Both Inlays and onlays can be made from either gold, porcelain or composite resin. All of these are effective, but the best choice for you or your family member will depend on your individual needs and budget.
If you like the idea of an occasional flash of gold when you smile or laugh, gold is the preferred option. How much of a gold inlay or onlay might actually be visible will depend on the size of the area being treated and the location of the tooth in your mouth. Porcelain inlays and onlays are the best option from the standpoint of aesthetics, as they can be colored to match your teeth and are virtually invisible.
If you have misaligned bite or if you grind your teeth, composite inlays may be the best choice.
Meet our Team at Hillock Family Dental
We treat our patients like members of our own family – they mean that much to us. When you entrust the dental and oral health of your teeth and gums to us, we believe you deserve the best dental care available.
We work closely with you to explain the process of placing a crown, so you understand why a crown is needed, what to expect, and reassure you if you have concerns about pain or discomfort. A crown may be needed to avoid losing a tooth – which leads to other problems.