Inlays and onlays are conservative treatments that stop cavities from spreading, help end tooth decay and last far longer than fillings. Unlike crowns and bridges, which are best for serious damage, inlays and onlays allow dentists to treat teeth that still have plenty of healthy, organic matter left.
Both inlays and onlays go inside a tooth’s cavity - and when deciding to a lay person it can be hard to tell the difference between one and the other. Having said that, inlays and onlays are not identical - and it’s important you know the difference to get the best possible dental care!
An inlay is one way to restore your tooth indirectly. Like a filling, it goes into a tooth cavity in order to protect what’s left of your natural tooth. Unlike a filling, an inlay is made outside your mouth - which usually means it can’t be fitted in the space of one visit to the dentist.
Instead, you’ll need to come in and let the doctor take a mold of your tooth and cavity on your first visit. Afterwards, the doctor will use that mold to make an inlay from a hard material - and install it in your tooth on the second visit. The end result is a “hard filling” that preserves your tooth far better than a soft one - and is considerably less invasive than a crown.
An onlay is a direct analog of the inlay, with the exception that it goes on a tooth rather than inside it. In other words, it’s less of a filling and more of an add-on to your natural tooth made from a hard material like porcelain or amalgam silver.
Unlike a crown, which covers an entire tooth, an onlay usually goes over a small part of it. This means you can preserve more of the natural matter - and spend less time and money on the procedure.
To get more information about onlays, inlays and the other services on the page, call our clinic today at (770) 277-5588 for a free quote and consultation.