Inlays and Onlays

Inlays & Onlays: The Less Invasive Alternative to Complete Crowns

Dental issues, from the mundane to the serious, happen every day. They happen every week, every month, and every year. They happen to everyone and, almost universally, they happen at the worst possible times.

Enter restorative dentistry, or the practice of fixing dental issues and restoring your mouth to health. This is truly a smile saving practice. Nowhere does this become more apparent than when considering inlays and onlays.

Inlays and onlays are alternatives to dental crowns. They have some benefits, some drawbacks, and a whole lot of unique features. Check out some detailed info on them below and don’t hesitate to contact us now for a complimentary restorative consultation!

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are less invasive alternatives to complete dental crowns. Sometimes called partial crowns or indirect fillings, these can be used to treat structural tooth damage instead of traditional fillings. They are strong, long-lasting solutions to a large range of dental issues.

None of these actually tell you what an inlay or an onlay is, though. Inlays are fillings that strengthen the overall structure of your tooth. Onlays are fillings made from porcelain or composite resin applied to the outside of the tooth, often the biting surface.

The Pros of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays offer a number of benefits over complete crowns. They also have a number of drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the good stuff first.

The pros of inlays and onlays include:

  • They offer a snug fit, which helps to minimize future decay damage
  • They are strong, stable, and can even help strengthen a decayed tooth
  • They are less likely to become discolored, even over long stretches of time
  • They are easy to clean – simply brush as normal
  • They cost usually less than a complete crown

Now that we’ve established how inlays and onlays are beneficial, let’s look at some areas where they’re not quite as useful as complete crowns.

The Cons of Inlays and Onlays

By far the largest con of inlays is that any filling simply isn’t going to offer the same level of protection as a crown. There’s also something to be said for the longevity of complete crowns over partials. These factors vary case-by-case, but, generally speaking, a complete crown gives better protection overall.

A casting of your teeth must be taken to create both inlays and onlays. This means they’re created in a lab and not in your dentist’s office, adding time to the entire process. Of course, placing a crown will take a minimum of two visits as well, so which option is faster is up for debate.

Ultimately, the choice between whether to get inlays and onlays or a complete dental crown is yours. Which option you pick will largely come down to your personal preference, as well as your budget.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation and exploration of your options!