Dental Inlays and Onlays vs. Crowns
When someone develops a small dental cavity, a filling can restore damaged tooth enamel and provide protection to prevent further damage. However, if a cavity is left untreated and causes more advanced dental damage, a filling is likely to be insufficient. Instead, a dental crown or dental inlay or onlay can address moderate to advanced damage while preserving the natural tooth.
The dentists at Smile Montreal, in Montreal, QC, help patients understand the key differences regarding inlays and onlays vs. dental crowns. Depending on how much dental damage is present, and what part of the tooth has been compromised, our dentists can advise patients on which treatment method is best suited to their unique needs.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are indirect dental restorations that are intended to repair moderate to advanced tooth decay or dental damage. Unlike dental fillings, which are applied directly to the teeth, indirect restorations, like inlays, onlays, and dental crowns, are fabricated in a dental laboratory and then bonded to the teeth upon completion.
Inlays and onlays are basically like a middle ground treatment between a dental filling and a dental crown. Fillings treat only small areas of decay. Dental crowns treat larger areas of decay, but they require substantial alteration of the tooth structure. Inlays and onlays treat more advanced stages of decay, but they leave the majority of the natural tooth structure intact.
Both inlays and onlays bond to a tooth to replace enamel that has been lost to damage or decay. The key difference between these two types of restorations is the area of the tooth that they can treat. Inlays are slightly smaller than onlays. Inlays sit in the grooves of the teeth. Onlays are a little larger; they can address damage that extends to the bumps, or cusps, of a tooth.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
When tooth decay or dental damage has progressed to the point that a filling is no longer a viable treatment option, inlays and onlays are a good alternative for our Montreal patients to consider. Inlays and onlays repair and protect the teeth without requiring substantial reshaping of the tooth structure. These restorations are more conservative than dental crowns, and preserve more of the natural tooth structure. Additionally, inlays and onlays are customized to blend in seamlessly with the natural teeth so they do not compromise the appearance of the smile.
When to Consider Dental Crowns
Inlays and onlays offer a number of benefits to individuals with moderate to advanced dental damage, but they may not always be the best treatment option. If tooth decay or damage has advanced to the point that the pulp (the sensitive nerves and tissues at the center of the tooth) or roots are vulnerable to infection, a dental crown may be necessary.
Dental crowns are another type of indirect dental restoration. Dental crowns sit over the core of the natural tooth and completely surround the crown on all sides to provide a layer of protection while restoring the tooth’s strength, health, and appearance. Dental crowns can be customized by size, shape, and color so they blend in with adjacent teeth and look like a natural part of the smile.
At Smile Montreal, our dentists offer a comprehensive range of restorative dentistry treatments to repair dental damage and restore the strength, health, and beauty of the smile. If you have suffered from dental damage, our dentists can help you consider which treatment option is right for you. To schedule an appointment, send us a message online or call (514) 937-6558 at your earliest convenience.