What is the Difference in Inlay/Onlays and Full Coverage Crowns?

At Dr. Foster’s Marietta dentist office, we want to make sure you understand all of the dental terminologies before you come in to make your experience as smooth as possible. Many people get dental inlays/onlays and crowns mixed up. When a filling reaches the end of its life, it’s time to consider an alternative. If there is sufficient natural tooth remaining, a bonded tooth colored filling is an option. However, if there is not enough natural tooth to bond the material to, we recommend a crown or an inlay/onlay.

Both full coverage crowns and inlay/onlays are laboratory fabrications and are two appointment procedures. The difference lies in the design.  Whenever possible, inlay/onlays are desirable because the junction between the tooth and the restoration is usually above the gum.  This makes it easier to keep the tooth clean from plaque.

When too much of the natural tooth is damaged, a foundation and full coverage crown is needed to protect the tooth from breakage.  We will bond material to your natural tooth to form a shape that will accept a type of “hard hat” or “cap” to put over your tooth. This will restore the chewing capability of the tooth as well as restore the tooth to a natural look.

Some people think that when a crown or inlay/onlay is placed on a tooth, there will never be a need to replace it.  However, it depends on the patient’s home care as to the longevity of any restoration.  Flossing and proper brushing are a must. Brush gently but thoroughly where the crown meets the gum and avoid hard food or ice. See us regularly so we can make sure the gums and tooth structure is staying healthy.