Crowns vs Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are two types of indirect fillings that are used to restore the damage from moderate to large cavities. Unlike regular dental fillings, inlays and onlays are not directly applied to the teeth. Instead, they are first fabricated in a dental lab, and then the solid pieces are fitted tightly to the cavity like perfectly-sized jigsaw puzzles.
At Janice K. Pliszczak, DDS, Janice K. Pliszczak, DDS and Dr. Pliszczak we can check your dental health and determine whether inlays or onlays are a good dental restoration option for you.
Inlays and Onlays, Explained
Dental inlays are made to restore the chewing surface of your back teeth that are larger than what regular fillings can fix. These prosthetics cover the pits and fissures of the molar and premolar teeth but not the cusps. The bonding process of inlays can help to strengthen and stabilize the tooth enamel.
Dental inlays can be made from gold, porcelain, or ceramic in a dental lab, though they can also be built in-house with the help of CEREC technology.
One of the major benefits of inlays over regular fillings is that they do not respond as much to varying temperatures like contracting when you eat cold food or expanding when you eat hot food. This means there is less chance of a tooth fracture or gaps appearing between the inlays and your teeth, which can make your tooth vulnerable to re-infection.
Dental onlays are quite similar to inlays except they also extend to the cusps of the teeth. These devices are used for extensive tooth decay, but not so much that it warrants a root canal therapy and a dental crown to protect the weakened tooth.
Dental onlays used to be made from gold alloy; however, thanks to advancements in modern dentistry, onlays are now also made from more natural-looking material.
What Does the Process of Getting Dental Inlays and Onlays Involve?
Whether you are getting an inlay or an onlay, the process can take two sessions to complete, unless CEREC technology is used. It is somewhat similar to getting a dental crown, though root canal therapy is not required before installing inlays or onlays.
We will administer local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding your tooth. Using fine dental instruments, we will remove the soft, decayed tissue and disinfect the tooth. We will then prepare the cavity to receive the inlay or the onlay. An impression of the prepared tooth will be taken and sent to a dental lab to fabricate the inlay or the onlay.
Once the device has been made, we will fit them tightly to your tooth with the help of dental cement. We will then test your bite and remove excess material from the restorations.
Pros and Cons of Dental Inlays and Onlays
Indirect fillings have one major advantage over dental crowns — they do not require extensive removal of the enamel to place the restoration. The main goal of inlays and onlays is to preserve as much healthy dental structure as possible. Hence, they are better at preserving your dental health than crowns.
On the other hand, inlays and onlays are quite expensive, almost as expensive as getting a dental crown, and may also not be covered by your dental insurance provider. That is why most people prefer getting fillings or crowns that are covered. In addition, onlays are more challenging to fit correctly and can lead to a bigger risk of restoration failure.
If you have a decayed or damaged tooth, do not wait for it to get worse. Call us today at (315) 800-5020 and we will determine whether you will benefit from inlays or onlays or another dental restoration option.