Inlays and onlays are used for dental restorations, and are a common alternative to full-coverage dental crowns. They are often also referred to as direct fillings. A direct filling is called an “inlay” if it is being applied to the center of a tooth, and an “onlay” if it is for the outside, or the surface, of a tooth. You may need an inlay or onlay if you have a tooth that has suffered damage from decay caused by a cavity. They not only restore your dental health, but relieve any pain and fix the look of the tooth.
There are several differences between a direct filling and a full coverage dental crown, which may explain why dentists prefer them. The first difference is while crowns are created in the mouth, inlays and onlays are created in a lab. This means that the procedure for applying them is much easier and less time consuming. Inlays and onlays are also known to be stronger and longer lasting, meaning less time making and attending dental appointments for the same problem. Patients also remark that direct fillings fit better than crowns, as well.
If you are curious about inlays and onlays, and would like to consider them instead of a crown, talk to your cosmetic dentist for their opinion.