Fillings, Inlays, Onlays, Crowns: What’s The Difference? - Broke in London

Fillings, Inlays, Onlays, Crowns: What’s The Difference?

Guest post by Jennie Trotters

This guide by Portobello Dental Clinic will help you get a better understanding of the difference between fillings, inlays, and onlays. Keep reading to see if any of the following treatments is suitable for you. Keep in mind that you should talk to your dentist to ensure that you understand everything the service requires before making a decision.

What is a filling?

A dental filling is a common treatment used to treat decay within your tooth. If decay spreads within your tooth you may require your dentist to remove the affected area and fill it with strong dental material. The aim of this is to restore the strength and functionality of your tooth.

Your dentist is going to fill the cavity with materials such as silver, amalgam, and composite resin. The latter, which is also known as white filling, represents the type of material that can match your teeth’s natural color better than amalgam and silver. If you care about your mouth’s aesthetic and you’re after enhancing your look, then composite fillings are your best option, since amalgam and silver are metal based materials.

What is an inlay?

Inlays cover more of the tooth than general fillings do, typically focusing on the area between the cusps. This is why inlays need to be shaped to fit in this area that’s just been removed by the dentist.

The role of an inlay is to stop bacteria and food from reaching your filling, as that would only cause more decay. When it comes to the choice of material for your inlays, dentists will usually go for solid ones like gold and ceramic over amalgam in order to maximise the chances of restoring your tooth and matching it to the rest.

What is an onlay?

Onlays typically cover more of your tooth than fillings and inlays, but less than crowns. This is why they are often referred to as partial crowns. While crowns are used to fix an entire tooth by covering it in order to help it restore functionality, onlays treat less severe cases.

If your tooth is starting to show decay signs in the middle, as well as on the side, for instance, then you might require an onlay. This type of treatment uses materials like gold, porcelain, and composite resin, which are placed after your tooth’s cavity has been removed. Such dental materials are bonded to your teeth in order to help them withstand any pressure from eating.

What is a crown?

Crowns are the largest out of the four types of fillings as they cover the whole tooth. This type of treatment is only necessary in case the tooth has suffered significant damage and its natural structure is not strong enough to support daily chewing anymore.

A crown may also be used in order to cover discolored and misshapen teeth. This represents a cosmetic treatment that is meant to enhance your smile. Crowns are made from various dental materials such as stainless steel, gold, resin, porcelain, and ceramic.