Inlays vs. Onlays: Which is Best for You?

Inlays and Onlays Which is best for you

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort when chewing, it might be time to visit your dentist. Chances are, you will need a dental restoration to fix the problem. There are two main types of indirect fillings: inlays and onlays. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know the difference between an inlay and an onlay. And that’s okay!  In this blog post, we will compare the two and help you decide which is best for you!

What is an indirect filling?

Before discussing which is best for you, we need to understand the basics of dental inlays and onlays. For starters, both restorations are known as indirect fillings. An indirect filling is a type of dental restoration that is used to fill cavities or repair cracked or broken teeth. Indirect fillings are made outside of the mouth and are then bonded to the tooth. They are usually made from materials such as gold, porcelain, or composite resin.

Dental Inlay
Dental Inlay

The main difference between an inlay and onlay is the size of the restoration, as well as where it is located. An inlay is used to restore a small area of tooth decay and is bonded to within the center of the tooth’s chewing surface. Onlays, on the other hand, are used to restore larger areas of tooth decay or damage. With an onlay, either the entire chewing surface is restored and/or one or more of the tooth’s cusps.

To place an inlay or onlay, two dental appointments are generally required. During the first appointment, the tooth is prepared for restoration. This involves removing any decay or damaged tissue. Once the tooth is prepared, an impression is made and sent to a dental laboratory where the inlay or onlay will be fabricated.

During your second appointment, the inlay or onlay will be checked for fit and then bonded to the tooth using dental cement. The margins are then polished to ensure a seamless fit between the restoration and your natural tooth structure.

Which is Best?

Dental Onlay
Dental Onlay

Inlays and onlays are often used in cases where the area affected by tooth decay is too large to adequately restore with a composite filling, but not severe enough to warrant the placement of a dental crown. In these cases, an inlay or onlay can be placed as a way of restoring the tooth, while preserving the majority of its natural, healthy structure.

So, which type of indirect filling is best for you? The answer to this question depends on several factors. These include the size of the cavity, the location of the cavity, and the severity of the tooth decay.

In general, inlays are best for small cavities located within the center of the tooth’s chewing surface. Onlays are best for larger cavities that affect one or more of the tooth’s cusps.

If you’re not sure which type of indirect filling is right for you, schedule an appointment with your dentist. They will be able to assess your needs and make a recommendation based on your individual case.

In Conclusion

In this blog, we have compared dental inlays and onlays. We’ve discussed the basics of indirect fillings and the difference between an inlay and onlay. And finally, we’ve helped you decide which type of restoration is best for you!

If you think you might need a dental inlay or onlay, don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment. We would be more than happy to help you restore your smile!

Dr. Sam Sadati wearing black suite portrait

Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry.  He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.