Crowns vs. Inlays and Onlays
Even though our teeth are among the strongest bones in our bodies, they can still be affected by physical damage and decay. Finding out that you have cavities is never fun, but there are several treatment options that a dentist can recommend when fillings are just not enough.
Inlays, onlays and crowns are three restorative treatments used to treat cavities and tooth decay. When a tooth is severely decayed, it simply cannot be restored with the help of fillings. This is where inlays, onlays and crowns come in. Let’s look at the similarities and differences between the three in detail.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are two alternatives to traditional composite resin and amalgam fillings. They are also known as indirect fillings. Unlike a traditional filling which is cured inside of the cavity, inlays and onlays are created in a dental lab using your mouth’s impression after the decay is removed. Then, a dentist places them inside the decayed tooth and uses special dental cement to bond them in place.
The difference between inlays and onlays is that inlays are used to treat a single pointed end or cusp. On the other hand, a dentist uses an onlay, also known as a partial crown, to treat two or more cusps. Both inlays and onlays are fabricated as single solid pieces.
Inlays and onlays are most often used to treat cavities that develop on the chewing surfaces of your molars. They are also used where traditional amalgam and composite resin fillings can compromise the structural integrity of the affected tooth or increase the risk of infection.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Now that you know what inlays and onlays are, let's learn how they differ from dental crowns.
A dental crown is a restorative treatment, also used to treat a decayed or damaged tooth. This restoration is reserved for more serious tooth decay situations. A cap is placed over the entire tooth after removing the existing damage.
Porcelain crowns resemble a cap in appearance and act as a cover over the entire visible surface of the affected tooth. They hold the damaged teeth together and prevent any further harm. A dental crown can also prevent infections or the need to get the damaged tooth extracted. Adding a dental crown can help your damaged tooth regain its strength and function normally.
Which Option Is Right For Me?
If you are suffering from cavities, tooth decay or damage, it is important that you seek dental treatment right away. An experienced dentist will perform a thorough oral examination and might even take X-rays to determine the extent of the damage. Once they figure out how seriously your tooth is decayed, they will help determine the best treatment to meet your needs.
If you have any questions about inlays, onlays, or porcelain crowns, and want to find out which option is right for you, call Lincoln Smiles today at 916-543-8800. Our team of skilled and certified providers will examine you and determine which of the three restorative options is right for you.