The Benefits and Procedure of Getting Dental Inlays and Onlays

The Benefits and Procedure of Getting Dental Inlays and Onlays

May 01, 2020

A dental inlay is a customized filling that is fitted on a tooth’s groove and does not extend past the tooth’s cusps. It is one of the restorative procedures used to repair teeth that have sustained damage from trauma or decay. Inlays are recommended only if the tooth’s cusps are not damaged. According to the American Dental Association, inlays are more durable compared to dental fillings made from amalgam or composite.

On the other hand, an onlay is used when the tooth has suffered extensive damage such that the cusp and the tip of the tooth are affected. Inlays and onlays are often used as a substitute for traditional fillings. They are known to offer more durable, well-fitting, and long-lasting solution to teeth decay or related damage.

Your dentist will carry out a dental exam on you before the installation procedures begin.

The Procedure

The installation of inlays or onlays will take a maximum of two visits to the dentist. At the first visit, your dentist will clean and prepare the injured tooth. Then he/she will then take the tooth’s impression and send it to a dental lab for fabrication.

Porcelain, resin, and gold are the materials used to make inlays and onlays. Your dentist will discuss with you which material type is best to use. For instance, gold is preferred on back teeth, while porcelain is used on the front teeth because they have the best esthetics.

During your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary provision and replace it with your inlay or onlay. These restorations are stable and will rarely fail.

After the installation, the margins will be checked to ensure they fit smoothly with the adjacent contacts. The practitioner will also check your bite for occlusion related issues. Once the fitting is complete, the restoration is cemented on to your tooth, and the margins polished.

What Are the Benefits of Inlays and Onlays?

  • Strong and durable – The materials used to make them are durable and strong. This makes them stable and effective for the treatment of teeth decay.
  • Weak teeth protector – Onlays offer protection to the fragile parts of a tooth and are also used to strengthen damaged teeth.
  • Safeguards tooth structure – When restoring the damaged area, they try to preserve the healthy teeth structure as much as possible, thus ensuring functional longevity.
  • Makes teeth cleaning easy – Since the fitting is done on all edges, cleaning your teeth becomes easier.
  • Ideal for tight space-filling – Inlays are better sealants than composite fillings when covering cavities. They are more efficient at keeping bacteria out, and they are not stained easily.
  • Superior fit – They preserve as many healthy teeth as possible. This makes them an excellent choice for many people with minimal tooth decay that extends to the flossing area.

Who Needs a Dental Inlay?

A decayed tooth can lead to detrimental dental issues if not treated. Below are signs that will tell you need an inlay:

  • If your tooth is severely damaged such that a simple filling cannot be sufficient
  • When there is minimal or moderate decay that you do not need to get a crown
  • When a patient wants to prevent the removal of healthy teeth as much as possible

Dental Inlays and Onlays Vs. Crowns

Both crowns and onlays are restorative procedures used to treat tooth decay. Onlays are known to cover the tooth’s cusp and are fabricated as one. Dental crowns, on the other hand, cover the whole biting and chewing surface of your tooth and the structure that is above the gum line. In comparison to crowns, onlays are more durable and stronger due to the materials they are made of. They can last up to 30 years if they are taken care of properly.

Inlays and onlays are also more conservative as compared to crowns. This is because only the compromised part is removed before placing them. With crowns, a significant portion needs to be removed to put up the restoration.


Going for the right dental treatment ensures that your dental issue is resolved, and you get to go back to your normal lifestyle. Dr. Martin Megregian, a practitioner at Your Family Dental clinic recommends doing a bit of research before choosing your dental clinic. This is because there is an increase in the number of quack doctors who have neither the experience nor the skills to treat and care for patients. Visit our clinic today and get to experience dental care services under qualified professionals.

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