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Inlays and Onlays


Woman smiling while getting a dental exam Dental fillings restore average-sized cavities that are considered minor tooth damage. Dental crowns , however, restore a tooth that has suffered from major damages. But what about the in-between restoration procedures? Inlays and onlays treat tooth damages that are more than what filings can handle but would be considered excessive for a crown. While inlays and onlays are similar to fillings in some ways, there are differences that separate them. At Chicago Dental Esthetics our team is here to treat any potential dental issue.

Onlays


An onlay is like a larger filling and is meant to repair damages that have affected the cusp of a tooth. Onlays are more cost-effective than a dental crown, making them an excellent choice for candidates who are able to choose onlays for their tooth restoration.

Inlays


An inlay is mainly used for cavities that have grown too large to be treated with dental fillings. The reason why fillings cannot be used for large cavities is that they lack the precision to adequately regain the tooth's strength. Both inlays and onlays are created using an impression of the patient’s teeth. Therefore, the inlays fit perfectly into the damaged area, effectively sealing it.

Materials


Inlays and onlays come in a variety of materials, with porcelain and composite resin being the most popular due to them being able to aesthetically blend with surrounding teeth. Porcelain is generally the stronger, more durable material and is less prone to chipping while being stain resistant. However, it brings with it a higher cost than composite resin. Gold inlays are less common, but they are still functional, similar to gold crowns. Gold is considered the most durable and long-lasting material for inlays, onlays, crowns, and fillings. In the vast majority of cases, patients won’t have to worry about damages or wear and tear- generally, a gold inlay/onlay can last over 20 years. Gold is expensive, however, but it is quite practical, especially for repairing molars where gold can withstand years of biting and chewing.

Are There Reasons To Choose A Dental Crown?


While it may sound like a dental crown might be the best choice ignoring price, when specifically talking about tooth restoration, they can do more harm than good if unnecessarily used. Crowns are meant to treat severely damaged teeth and often, the tooth’s materials need to be removed and shaped for the crown to be fitted. The problem with this is when the crown needs to be replaced frequently, as more tooth material needs to be removed to fit a new crown. Inlays and onlays are meant to preserve the tooth itself while a crown protects what is left. Because of this, inlays/onlays are recommended if damages can be repaired with them - they are less expensive as well.

Are You Having Problems With Your Teeth?


If you have teeth that are in need of repair, our team at Chicago Dental Esthetics would love to help you. You can call our office to schedule an appointment with our team using this number (224) 341-5162.
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