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Dental Crowns vs. Inlays and Onlays
Vancouver, WA


Image of an inlay and onlay at Alder Dental in Vancouver, WA. When a tooth becomes damaged or weakened it is best to restore the tooth in shape and strength before further damage occurs. We can rebuild and strengthen a tooth using a dental crown, an inlay or onlay. Each restorative piece comes with benefits. At Alder Dental, we can discuss treatment options and which would be best for your specific needs.

Dental Crown


A dental crown is a frequently used dental prosthetic that allows us to recreate the shape of the tooth and provide a layer of protection to the original structure. Crowns can be customized to match the original tooth in shape and size, or to even create a perfected tooth, allowing us to close gaps, straighten or match better with neighboring teeth. Most often we use crowns as a restorative structure, but they can also be used as a cosmetic enhancement.

Dental crowns are a full cap for a tooth, as they fully surround and encase the original tooth. Crowns can be created using a variety of materials. Some materials are better depending on which tooth is being crowned and the biting pressure that that tooth will face. Dental crowns can also be used in conjunction with dental implants, so instead of covering a tooth, they cover a surgically implanted root. This allows us to use crowns to restore missing teeth.

When possible, it is always best to choose to strengthen a tooth versus simply extracting a tooth. Dental crowns allow this option to be possible. We will advise a patient to consider having a crown placed following breakage of a tooth, a large cavity in the tooth, or proceeding root canal therapy.

Dental crowns can be a highly valuable shield for the original tooth, but do require the original tooth to be shaped and decreased in size before placing the crown. Sometimes patients would prefer a more conservative option.

Dental Inlay and Onlay


A dental inlay and onlay are similar to a dental crown in that they are customized from the same material options. They are also used as a restorative prosthetic following damage or decay. The biggest difference is that they are not designed to entirely fit over a tooth, but instead designed to fit just the damaged portion of the tooth. Because it is just a piece, inlays and onlays are sometimes referred to as a partial crown or a ¾ crown. Full crowns have many benefits, but some patients prefer limiting the dental work to just the affected area. Partial crowns are a more holistic or conservative approach to restoration.

Dental inlays and onlays means much of the original tooth structure is kept intact and is usable.
A dental inlay is used when the patient has a large cavity that is too large for a standard dental filling to appropriately fill. The inlay is customized to fit in just the affected area of the tooth and provide a layer of strength to the tooth. A dental onlay is used when the outer wall of the tooth has been compromised from decay or fracture. The onlay is customized to fit that damaged portion of the outer wall providing it additional strength.

Schedule an Appointment


Please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment at our dental clinic. To learn more, give us Alder Dental a call at (360) 831-0831 today.

Office Hours:


Monday: By appointment
Tuesday: 8am - 5pm
Wednesday: 8am - 5pm
Thursday: 8am - 5pm
Friday: 7am - 2:30pm

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Crowns vs Inlays and Onlays | Alder Dental | Vancouver Dentist
At Alder Dental, we can discuss treatment options and clear up which option would be best for you; dental crowns or inlays and onlays. Click or call to learn more today!
Alder Dental - Brian Alder, DDS, 8700 NE Hazel Dell Ave, Vancouver, WA 98665-8067 ^ (360) 831-0831 ^ alder-dental.com ^ 9/6/2021 ^ Related Phrases: dentist Vancouver WA ^ dentist Vancouver WA ^