What are the differences between inlays, onlays, and dental fillings?

Oct 31, 2018

At Dr. Teeth in Katy, TX, we provide the highest in quality and service when it comes to dental restoration with inlays, onlays, and dental fillings. All three options are ways to remove tooth decay or damage and strength the affected tooth.

What are Inlays?

When a patient’s back teeth’s chewing surfaces are decayed or damaged, we recommend inlays. Inlays are great for teeth with large decayed areas, where a regular filling will not cover the affected area and fail to give structure and strength for long-term endurance. No one wants to endure a cracked or splintered tooth right after getting dental work. Inlays are the best choice for returning back teeth to normal chewing function.

What about onlays?

Like inlays, onlays work well for larger teeth like molars. Onlays also repair damaged or eroded cusps, which are the pointed area on the edges of the tooth. Cusps get a lot of wear and tear over a lifetime, and can wear down. There must be enough of the tooth left that’s structurally sound in order to support the onlay.

How are inlays or onlays made?

Inlays and onlays can be made of gold or porcelain. They require two visits to Dr. Teeth in Katy, TX. On your first visit, we will take impressions of your tooth to be repaired, then send that impression to our lab where it will be made. Every inlay and onlay is custom-fitted to your tooth.

What about dental fillings?

Dental fillings repair small holes in teeth. They’re usually made of silver, although white resin has become more popular. Resin fillings are the same color as your teeth and look natural.

Inlays and onlays are strong and durable. They replace up to 75 percent of the tooth’s structural strength and can last for up to 30 years.