What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays are one of the many restorative options used to save and strengthen severely damaged tooth due to dental cavities. These are used to fill the decayed part of the tooth that is too big enough for a regular dental filling to fill but not too damaged enough for a dental crown to be used. Inlays are used to fill the hole between the cusps on the chewing surface of the tooth or in the middle of the tooth. Onlays cover more extensive damage on the surface of the tooth than an inlay. They are more conventional form of treatment as compared to dental crowns because the procedure does not entail a reduction of the tooth’s structure.

Inlays and onlays are manufactured in a dental laboratory as compared to dental fillings that are readily applied on tooth at the chair side. They are made from different materials that can help strengthen the teeth. Materials used in inlays and onlays procedure are:

  • Gold – This type of material is known to be the most durable and is resistant to wear; however this is less generally used. The main reason is that this type of material is less aesthetically pleasing to the eye because of its metallic color and also it is the most expensive material for an inlay or an onlay.
  • Porcelain – This type of material is much preferred by patients because of its ability to copy the color of your natural teeth. This is often used in the front teeth. Porcelain is also favored because it is a stain resistant material.
  • Composite – This type of material is made from the combination of plastic and glass particles. Like porcelain, they are able to imitate the color of your natural teeth.
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