Dental Inlays and Onlays: What’s the Difference?

Dental,Technician,Presenting,Dental,Prosthesis,In,A,Dental,Lab In years past, inlays and onlays were used to repair decaying areas of tooth enamel instead of fillings. Much like a filling, an inlay fits inside the tooth, while an onlay fits inside the tooth and also extends onto the cuspal surface of the tooth.

Dental Inlays

Many times, an inlay is a better choice to repair a cavity than a filling. Inlays are often made of tooth-colored material or porcelain, making it impossible to differentiate from tooth enamel. Dental inlays are often used to replace metal fillings, as this option can provide a more natural look. Often, using an inlay to replace a traditional metal filling can also strengthen the tooth.

Dental Onlays

Just like an inlay, a dental onlay fills the formerly decayed area inside the tooth. An onlay, however, also extends onto the surface of the tooth. This type of treatment is used to remedy tooth decay on chewing surfaces (such as on the back teeth). An onlay is used to replace the cusps—pointed surfaces used for chewing.

In years past, many dental patients would shy away from the idea of dental onlays, as the treatment was associated with a gold tooth. Today, however, it’s not just possible to receive a tooth-colored dental onlay—it’s also possible to replace old onlays with tooth-colored onlays, both creating a more natural look and strengthening the tooth.

Which Option Is Right for Me?

Your dentist will talk with you about your options to repair your tooth and make a recommendation as to whether a dental onlay, dental inlay, traditional filling, or other tooth repair method is the best option for you.

Call Heather F. Fleschler, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., L.V.I.F for an Appointment Today

If you’re in need of a dental bridge or other restorative dental treatments, our team is here to help. We understand that a healthy smile helps you feel confident and live your best life, and we’d love to discuss your options to help you restore your smile. Whether you’re looking for Invisalign treatment, restorative dental work, or simply need your annual dental cleaning, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to our Houston office today at 713-660-6500 to learn more. We’re excited to get to know you and help create your ideal smile!

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