Open early mornings, evenings, and Saturdays! Call today!

Call Us Today 303-377-9278

Inlays, Onlays, and Crowns

As the years go by, teeth can break, decay and wear down. These things can damage even the healthiest smiles and may even lead to requiring replacements for previous dental work. Eventually, if not treated, these problems can lead to persistent pain and serious oral complications.

You can take steps to prevent these serious complications before they happen, but, on occasion, you may need to get some repair work in order to get the functionality and appearance of your teeth back to where you want it.

Inlays, onlays and crowns are three of the most common restorative processes that we can use as a cosmetic dentist in Denver to treat individual problems and get your smile back to a healthy state.

Inlays and Onlays

Sometimes, a tooth can become damaged enough that a regular filling will further compromise the overall integrity of the tooth, but not damaged to the point that it requires a crown. This situation can be difficult because it may seem like you only have those two choices available to you. Choosing a filling may lead to more dental problems and getting a crown may be unnecessary and expensive.

Rather than make a choice that could potentially lead to more complications, you can opt for something different.

Inlays and onlays are restorative procedures that help fix teeth with large cavities or other damage. Unlike normal fillings, inlays and onlays can strengthen and improve the structure of your teeth. They are typically made from gold, porcelain or composite resin.

Inlays repair the chewing surface between the cusps, or bumps, on your teeth. On the flip side, onlays typically repair the cusps themselves or the entire chewing surface of the tooth. Onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns.


Crowns are fixed prosthetics that cover the entirety of your tooth. Much like inlays and onlays, crowns are useful in restoring teeth that are too damaged for normal fillings, but not bad enough for a complete tooth replacement.

Dentists will often recommend crowns for other things such as protection for weak teeth, covering poorly shaped teeth or restoring a fractured tooth. Crowns are also made from materials like porcelain, composite and gold.

The Restorative Process

If you need an inlay or onlay, you will first go through a couple of different steps to ensure a proper fit. Your dentist will make a mold of the tooth that needs restoration and then place a temporary filling. The mold is sent to the lab where the inlay or onlay is created. During the next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and place the permanent fixture.

When you get a crown, the process is a little different. In order for the crown to fit properly, the dentist will first need to reduce the size of your tooth and then take a mold of it. Your dentist will send the mold to the lab and place a temporary crown over your tooth. Once the mold is completed, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the permanent one.

Other Options

In some cases, if cracks, damage or even severe discoloration is occurring on the visible part of your teeth, we may choose to use dental veneers in Denver to add strength to the tooth and cover any imperfections.

If your teeth have gone beyond a crown, though, we may need to opt for a dental implant.

The Future of Your Teeth

These are all long-term solutions for tooth rehabilitation, and they can last anywhere from 20 years to a lifetime. Good dental hygiene habits will always help prevent further issues, but they can also protect the restorative work done on your teeth. As you brush, floss and go to regular checkups with your dentist, you are sure to prolong the integrity of your inlays, onlays and crowns.

Leave a Comment