Dental Clinic in Ville Emard

Onlay or Dental Crown: Which is Better for Your Teeth?

There is much confusion regarding these terms. In this article, we’ll cover the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of onlays and dental crowns.


An onlay constitutes more work and surface area coverage than an inlay, but not as much as a dental crown.nIt’s best characterized by the fact that it covers a cusp of the tooth and is fabricated as a single solid piece. Much of the surface area of the tooth remains exposed with an onlay.

Dental Crown

You can think of a dental crown as more of a replacement than a repair. As such, dental crowns are reserved for more serious situations. It’s the more extensive result when compared to an onlay. The dental crown refers to a cap placed over the entire tooth. This is done after removing the existing decay.

Onlay vs. Dental Crown Use

Both onlays and dental crowns are used for larger surface areas of decay than covered by a filling or inlay. Just as an onlay covers more area than an inlay, so does a dental crown cover more surface area than an onlay. A key difference is that for onlay procedures, the cavity is always drilled first.

Dental crowns cover the entire biting surface of the tooth. That includes the entirety of the surface above the gum line, too.

An onlay, overall, is a less aggressive procedure. Fewer materials and less tooth coverage usually make it a little cheaper.

Whenever restoration is possible, the onlay is preferred. You want to restore and support your teeth when you can and avoid totally replacing them. That said, an onlay requires a more difficult procedure. You will be more reliant on the skill of the dentist. For this reason, it’s worth figuring out whether you need an onlay or a crown before settling on your Montreal dentist. When shopping for a dentist to conduct the procedure for an onlay, you should note that it’s less frequently covered by insurance. This means that it’s not always cheaper when it comes to out-of-pocket costs. Based on that information, you can understand why dental crowns can be a favorite of both dentists and patients alike.

Whenever the problem cannot be fixed by a filling because there is too much tooth decay present, an onlay is not a viable option.

Trips to the dentist are utilized best as preventive measures in order to save the cost of an inlay or dental crown.

Dental Crown and Onlay Materials

A dental crown or onlay can be made using gold, porcelain, composite resin, or infused metals. The goal for each is the same, to restore anatomy, aesthetics, and functionality of the tooth.

Dental crowns work better following a root canal and strengthen the tooth more than an onlay will. Crowns also cover stains and fractures as they leave no surface area of the tooth visible.

Crowns and onlays both require more than one visit. The series of appointments will vary by dental practice but generally follow this series of steps:

● First Visit- Remove all tooth decay or perform a root canal if necessary
● Second Visit – Create a mold of the tooth receiving the crown or onlay. The molding is then sent to a laboratory for restoration. Within the second visit, a temporary crown or onlay may be applied while you wait for the restoration process to complete.
● Final Visit – Once the restoration is complete, temporary filling or crown is removed, and the restoration secured.

When discussing the differences and viabilities of a dental crown or onlay with your dentist, always ask a lot of questions. Inquire about his specific approach. Why choose one over the other in terms of cosmetics? Is one or both options available in terms of functionality and longevity? What is his preference, and why? Lastly, what will the difference in comfort feel like in terms of before and after the procedure?

Conclusion: Onlay vs. Dental Crown

In terms of “better” or “worse” in comparing onlay to a dental crown, much of it is subjective. Every situation is different. A dentist with extensive experience with crowns, who offers the procedure at a price that matches an onlay, may be the best option for your health and finances.