Each situation requires a specific remedy of its own. Crowns are more aggressive than inlay or Onlays. Inlay, Onlay or crowns are not necessarily different in strength. Unless you are looking at metal crowns or porcelain fused to metal crowns. But then again, if you are going to break an inlay, you are going to get the indication that there is somthing else is going on there so you would want to fix that issue, such as a bad bite or certain habits, just to name a few. I would rather break an inlay rather than have the crown stay on, but the tooth be taking a beating and then responding in a bad way later on, such as need for root canals etc. Anyone can cut a tooth and do a crown or inlay or onlay, this is the mechanical part of dentistry. But does this dentist understand the function, and the mechanics, physics and the architecture of what it takes to do the most conservative, yet the best thing for you individually. Inlays and Onlays, can be stronger than the crown, if they are bonded, and if the situation warrants it. The old schools metal ones, yes, they could act as a wedge. The question is which one is best for you. Who can decide this for you? Your dentist. But do all dentists have the same knowledge? I would go back and ask the dentist their training, when was the last time they took a course on the new bonding techniques and materials and procedures, courses that deal with Posterior Restorations and where they took these courses and evaluate their training that way. Or you can simply go to www.top3dentists.com, choose General Dentist category and put in your zip code and see the dentists in your area who have the right type of training, and you will learn what type of training they have had, and where and which one would be best for your specific needs.
I do not remember exactly how I lost all three teeth. But I remember one crown failed to the extent it was not salvageable. Then a three teeth bridge was made and the side two teeth again had decayed badly and I ended up loosing both of them. So a removal three teeth denture was made which I have been wearing for over 20 years now. Thank you for your comments.
the inlay will be weaker than a crown and the chances of a new filling lasting very long is small.every time a filling is replaced you loose more structure of the tooth. this makes the tooth weaker. its your money and i am sure your dentist will do whichever procedure you prefer. you didnt explain why three crowns failed in the past. thats very unusual. sometimes they end up needing root canals but to lose the tooth is rare.