Tooth decay is a common problem affecting millions of people each year. In some cases, decay can become severe enough to need specific procedures to correct the damage. The following material covers important facts about inlays and onlays versus fillings and crowns.
Understanding Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are essentially the same dental procedure. The difference lies in the area of the tooth being treated. Inlays are placed between the cusps of the teeth to provide protection for areas of decay. Onlays cover a larger area for cases of more severe tooth decay that extends around the cusps of the teeth.
Inlays and onlays are generally made of durable porcelain. This is a material that is most similar to the natural tooth enamel. This makes for an exceptionally sturdy surface while providing a natural look. Inlays and onlays are put in place with a couple of short dental visits. Once your inlays or onlays have been crafted to fit your tooth precisely, they will be sealed in place with high-quality resin to ensure a permanent fixture. Once the resin is set with a special light, the bond becomes strong and durable. You can treat the surface of your inlays and onlays in much the same way you would treat your natural teeth.
The most common reason for needed inlays or onlays is to manage tooth decay. Once tooth decay has surpassed the point of a simple filling, an inlay or onlay can protect the area and keep you from losing your tooth. In some cases, these procedures may also be called for to correct damaged or broken teeth.
The cost of inlays and onlays will vary depending on many factors. The cost may depend on your geographical location, the number of teeth that require treatment, and the extent of the decay. A good average is roughly $900 per tooth, but it may be more or less based on specific factors. Many insurance plans cover this procedure, so it makes sense to discuss these options with your dental team prior to treatment.
Understanding Fillings and Crowns
Dental fillings generally work the best for very small areas of decay. The material used for fillings can vary between composite materials, mixed metals, and porcelain materials. Crowns are essentially ceramic prosthetic teeth that fit entirely over an existing tooth. Crowns are sometimes needed for large areas of damage that cannot be repaired in other ways.
Fillings can be performed fairly quickly in your dentist’s office. Fillings are often made from composite metals that are silver in color, making inlays a preferred choice due to the natural color of porcelain. Crowns can also generally be avoided in most situations if inlays and onlays are received before the decay worsens.
The cost of fillings is generally very small and manageable. However, this is mainly because fillings are designed to cover very small areas of decay or damage. Crowns, on the other hand, can cost between $500 and $3,000 per tooth, depending on the specifics of each situation.
Inlays vs Fillings
Inlays can offer several advantages over basic fillings. For one thing, inlays can cover and protect a larger area of the tooth surface. Inlays are also made of a material that looks like the natural surface of the tooth. In most cases, no one will ever know that they are there. Lastly, some types of materials used in fillings can loosen over time, resulting in the need for more work to be done on the same area. Inlays are a permanent fix for most dental decay issues.
Onlays vs Crowns
Onlays can also provide certain advantages over crowns. The main advantage lies in the cost of the two procedures. Since crowns tend to be required when decay has reached a point of severity, the total cost of correcting the entire problem is going to be higher. For example, many people need a root canal before a crown can be put in place. This drastically impacts the total cost of the procedure. Therefore, onlays are usually more affordable while still offering a superior level of strength to the overall composition of the tooth.
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Knowing you have access to a skilled and compassionate dental team can give you the peace of mind of knowing your needs will always be met in the best way. Our team of dental professionals in the Sugar Land area has the expertise needed to address an array of dental situations. If you are experiencing a dental situation that requires urgent care, please contact our Sugar Land office today to schedule an appointment.