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Crowns vs. Inlays and Onlays


smiling woman with dental crowns from Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry in Wausau, WIIf you have suffered from tooth decay, then it is important that you treat its damage as early as possible. Depending on the etiology of the decay, as well as its severity and location, at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry we offer you multiple options. Some cavities can be treated with dental fillings, but some cases may be best treated with inlays, onlays, or crowns. We are happy to dive through the differences between each of these procedures.

When Fillings are not Enough



If you have several damaged or broken teeth, to the point of having lost parts of them, then a conventional dental filling is not the most effective option for you. While this type of treatment has its indications, for more accentuated damages it may be necessary to opt for an inlay, an onlay, or a crown.

What are Inlays?



Inlays are commonly confused with fillings, but they have some fundamental differences. These conventional fillings are useful to cover small areas of damage. In larger areas, however, they may not stay in place after a certain time, as the size of the hole would make the backfill support unstable. An inlay, then, is created out of your tooth in a dental laboratory, while the filling is applied directly to the fault.

Once the inlay is made, we adhere it to your damaged tooth with specialized material to fix it. This treatment is stronger and more durable than a conventional filling, and is less likely to warp, making it a better option for most patients with large areas of damage.

What are Onlays?



An onlay has a similar concept to inlays, but it is intended for a different region of your tooth. While the inlay is made to go on the surface of the tooth and inside, an onlay goes only on the cusps of the tooth. This makes it possible for us to repair damaged parts of your tooth while protecting and treating tooth decay. They are done in multiple materials such as porcelain or even gold; the latter are more resistant but have aesthetic disadvantages for most people.

What are Crowns?



Lastly, we have crowns. Crowns are a kind of cap that is placed on top of a tooth with considerable damage, which does the job of improving the aesthetics of a damaged tooth, but also makes it stronger by restoring its functionality. Crowns are indicated for severe cases of damage, after a root canal, or if you have a tooth that is too weak. Crowns, like inlays and onlays, can be made of porcelain or resin.

Which One Is Better?



Compared to crowns, inlays and onlays are softer, less aggressive restorations, since to complete their treatment it is not necessary to alter so many natural tooth structures. The price range is similar, but crowns are usually more expensive, as they are made for more severe cases. Therefore, whenever possible, an onlay is usually the best option, however, crowns are more likely to be covered by insurance.

The reality is that all three treatments are effective for specific cases, and our professionals at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry can advise you to determine the best protocol for you to restore your damaged teeth. Please call us now at (715) 848-2435 and schedule your appointment.


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Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry, 550 N. 17th Ave. Wausau, WI 54401 • (715) 848-2435 • wanserskidental.com • 11/20/2021 • Page Phrases: dental implants Wausau WI • dental implants Wausau WI •