You’ve probably heard of getting crowns or fillings put in place to fill in cavities and dental decay. However, you may not have heard of some of the alternatives, such as dental inlays and onlays. Usually, fillings are used to fill in small cavities, while crowns are used when the decay is deeper or if there is a larger fracture to be covered up. However, there may be situations when a filling is not enough, and a crown is too much to protect dental decay. Dental inlays and onlays are what many dental professionals will then use if they need something “just right” to fill in those gaps. They are more substantial than fillings, but not as intrusive as a crown, which may involve reshaping the teeth in some way.

Inlays and Onlays

But what is the difference between the two?

At their most basic definitions, an inlay fills in cavities and hollows in a tooth in the areas between the cusps. An onlay will not just fill in cavities in those spaces, but they can work for a larger area, including the cusps.  They work similarly to crowns, but they do not cover the entire surface of the tooth. They are both made from the same materials, and they both serve the same function, but they cover different areas of the tooth to properly protect when there is tooth decay.

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