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What’s the Difference Between Inlays and Onlays?

What’s the Difference Between Inlays and Onlays?

If you have dental decay, you’re not alone. In fact, 92% of adults in the United States ages 20-64 have cavities. Our goal in addressing this damage is to stop the decay and protect and preserve your affected teeth, which is precisely what inlays and onlays accomplish.

When it comes to safeguarding your smile, Dr. Azer and the team here at Dr. Azer VIP Dentistry in Newport Beach, California, have a few tools in our cosmetic dentistry arsenal, including inlays and onlays.

Here, we explore the difference between these two tooth-restoration options and why they excel in both form and function.

Fillings, inlays, and onlays 

Before we discuss inlays and onlays, we should note that these two options are different from fillings. Fillings are the go-to choice if there isn’t much decay. If the damage is extensive, however, inlays and onlays are generally the preferred option, because they not only replace the damage, they help strengthen the tooth.

All about inlays and onlays

If you have too much damage for a filling, an inlay or onlay could get your tooth back in shape. Here are the differences between these two options:

The basics of inlays

Inlays treat damage that doesn’t extend over the cusps of the tooth. If tooth decay has damaged the center of your tooth, an inlay can replace the damaged portion and strengthen your tooth.

In the past, inlays were made of gold. Today, we use porcelain or composite resin materials that match the exact color of your tooth, so you won’t be flashing metal when you open your mouth. 

The basics of onlays

An onlay treats a tooth that has damage that extends over the cusps of the tooth. Onlays cap the tooth, but they don’t cover the entire tooth like a crown.

Onlays are made from porcelain or ceramic, and, like inlays, they’re custom-made to fit your tooth exactly and they can be tinted to match the color of your surrounding teeth. 

Placing inlays and onlays

Receiving an inlay or an onlay is the same process. First, we clean out the tooth decay and take an impression of your tooth.

We then send this impression to a lab, where your inlay or onlay is custom-made to fit the exact area where the decay was. When it’s ready, you simply return to our office and we secure the tooth restoration in minutes using strong adhesives.

Determining which one is right for you

The only way to determine whether you can benefit from an inlay or an onlay is to come see us so we can identify the extent and location of the damage to your tooth. Once we know what we’re dealing with, we can recommend either an inlay or an onlay.

There are times when the damage may be too great for either, at which point we may recommend a dental crown to preserve your tooth.

To learn more about inlays and onlays and which one could be right for your needs, call 949-763-5852 or book an appointment online with Dr. Azer VIP Dentistry today.

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