Inlays and Onlays

What Is the Difference Between Dental Inlays and Onlays

Are you wondering what type of dental service you may need for a damaged or decaying tooth? With the multiple options for repairing and correcting teeth, you can hardly be blamed for not knowing where to start.

If you’re suffering from tooth pain but are not sure a filling or crown is right for you, then you may be in need of an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays are now among the most popular and affordable dental restorative solutions.

Keep reading to learn more about inlays and onlays and whether they’re right for you.

What are Inlays and Onlays Used For?

Inlays and onlays are used to fill in areas of a tooth that have been affected by tooth decay or injury. Decay occurs when plague destroys the tooth enamel, leaving our tooth weak and sensitive. Inlays and onlays are a solution when a traditional filling is not enough to restore the tooth but a full crown is not needed.

Unlike a filling, inlays and onlays are pre-made and then bonded to the tooth. They can be made out of gold, composite resin to match the tooth color, or ceramics.

What are Inlays?

Inlays are used to fill in small spaces on the central top area of the tooth, mostly between the cusps. After decay is removed between the cusps, an inlay is placed to fill in the spot or hole. The inlay not only restores the tooth to its full potential, but it also helps protect against further decay and injury.

Inlays can be made out of ceramics, gold, or composite resins.

What are Onlays?

Onlays are used for larger areas of a tooth that have been affected by decay or injury such as breaking, chipping, or cracking. They can cover more than one cusp and fold over the tooth if necessary. This is why they are sometimes referred to as partial crowns.

Similarly to inlays, onlays can be made of various materials. Onlays are preferred over crowns because they do not require the removal of healthy enamel, unlike crowns which require the remaining tooth to be pared down to fit the crown.

The main job of an onlay is to restore the chewing surface and protect against future damage to the tooth. Which means you get to keep as much of your real tooth as possible.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

There are many benefits to having an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays make your tooth whole again and preserve its structure. They reduce the risk of decay in the future and will last many years.

Inlays and onlays are also comfortable. The procedure is simple, taking no more than two dental visits. In addition, inlays and onlays are easy to clean and can be made to resemble your natural tooth.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you think inlays and onlays may be the solution to your dental problems, then give us a call today. You no longer have to put up with awful tooth pain or sensitivity.

At Pacific Beach Smile, we offer a wide variety of quality tooth restoration services. Our experts will examine and help determine the best solution for you and your dental needs.


4460 Olney Street

San Diego, CA 92109

(858) 272-6047

Call us today!

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