Comparing Dental Fillings Vs. Inlays Vs. Onlays Vs. Crowns

Comparing Dental Fillings Vs. Inlays Vs. Onlays Vs. Crowns

Jul 01, 2023

Dental issues like chips, cracks, breaks, or cavities are common among adults and children. Thanks to modern dentistry, your dentist can use various restorative procedures to address these problems for optimal oral health. Dental fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns are common options for repairing mild to severe tooth damage.

While all of them are effective at restoring dental health, each suits different needs and varies in terms of uses, cost, materials, and durability. In this article, let’s explore the differences between these procedures and how they can meet your dental needs.

Dental Fillings: Best for minor tooth damage and decay

Teeth fillings are the most common restorative procedure for repairing tooth damage. They often fill cavities and repair tooth damage like chips, cracks, and breaks.

During the dental filling procedure, the dentist uses special dental tools to drill through the tooth and removes the damaged or decayed parts of the tooth. The cleaned area is then sealed with a suitable filling material such as porcelain, gold, composite resin, and amalgam. Composite fillings may need to be hardened with a special light or laser.

Lastly, the tooth is polished for a proper bite and natural appearance. Dental fillings help remove tooth damage and improve the remaining structure of your tooth, restoring your natural bite function and appearance. It also helps prevent further damage or infections.

Dental Inlays and Onlays: Best for moderate tooth damage and decay

Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays repair moderate tooth damage. They are best suitable for tooth damage that’s too extensive for a filling but not significant enough for a crown. Inlays and onlays are custom-made in a dental lab and bonded to the tooth.

Inlays repair cavities or damage within the teeth cusps (bumps on teeth), while onlays are more extensive and cover one or more teeth cusps. These restorations reinforce your tooth’s remaining structure and provide an aesthetically appealing smile.

Compared to dental fillings, onlays, and inlays provide a more comprehensive, stable, natural-looking, and long-lasting solution to tooth damage or decay. Common materials for inlays and onlays include porcelain, ceramic, composite resin, and gold. Visit our dentist for inlays and onlays in Glastonbury, CT.

Dental Crowns: Best for extensive Tooth Damage

Crowns are tooth-shaped caps used to repair or camouflage dental damage. Crowns are often needed when there’s significant teeth damage like fractures, breaks, chips erosion, or decay. Sometimes crowns support tooth replacement prosthetics like dental bridges and implants.

Unlike inlays, onlays, or fillings that only cover a part of the tooth, a crown covers the entire visible surface. They improve the tooth’s shape, color, size, and strength. Crowns are crafted in a dental lab and then screwed or cemented in place. Common materials for crowns include porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, gold, and zirconia.

Filling vs. Inlay vs. Onlay vs. Crown: Which is Right for You?

Below are key factors that can determine the right restorations for your dental needs:

  • The severity of the damage. Fillings are suitable for minor tooth damage or decay. Inlays and onlays are best for moderate decay or damage. Crowns are used for extensive damage or decay.
  • Materials used. These restorations use common dental materials like porcelain, composite resin, gold, and metal.
  • Durability. Generally, dental crowns provide comprehensive coverage and, thus, are the most durable. Inlays and onlays are less durable than crowns but more durable than fillings.
  • Cost. Generally, fillings are the least expensive and often covered by most insurance plans. Inlays and onlays are more expensive than fillings but less expensive than crowns. Other factors can determine the cost of your restoration.
  • Patient’s needs. If you’re looking for the most secure, natural-looking, and durable restoration, dental crowns are the most suitable, followed by inlays and onlays, and, lastly, fillings.

The suitable restoration depends on your budget, the extent of tooth damage, the location of the damaged tooth, aesthetics concerns, preferences, and the dentist’s recommendation. Visit our dentist for inlays and onlays, fillings, and crowns.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Do you have untreated dental damage or decay? Contact Steven F. Hinchey, DMD, to begin your restorative treatment today.

860-633-6518 Book Appointment
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