Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are dental treatments used to repair tooth surfaces after Dr. Hawkins fixes a cavity. The severity of the tooth decay will determine whether you actually receive an inlay or an onlay.

At Hawkins Dentistry, we use inlays and onlays as a restorative service. They are a modern version of the classic filling, which we discuss more in-depth ahead.

What is a Dental Inlay?

An inlay is a term for a pre-molded filling made of porcelain or composite resin that is applied to the outer edges of the tooth. Your dentist will insert the inlay after they have removed the decay. It may sound painful, but it is actually a simple and painless dental procedure.

Your dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area where the cavity is present. The area will stay numb while they remove the decay and place the inlay.

What is a Dental Onlay?

Like inlays, dentists craft onlays with porcelain or composite resin to match the appearance of your existing teeth.

What sets these two tooth restoration devices apart is their use. While inlays cover only the grooves of the teeth where minor damage has occurred, onlays cover more extensive decay damage present at higher points on tooth edges.

The first part of the cavity removal process is the same for inlays and onlays. Your dentist will drill after applying the local anesthesia. Only afterward, for onlays, they apply a temporary filling while your permanent onlay is being made. Your dentist will make a dental impression to send to a lab to create a permanent onlay. After your custom-made onlay is ready, you need a second appointment to fit it at the site of your former cavity.

How Do Inlays and Onlays Differ from Dental Fillings?

Dental inlays and dental onlays are the more modern version of fillings. Dental technicians originally made fillings with metal, which the Journal of Dental Health, Oral Disorders and Therapy notes can weaken the tooth by 50%. Porcelain and composite resin inlays and onlays, on the other hand, can strengthen teeth by 75%.

We apply traditional fillings in a single appointment, and they are less expensive in the short-term than inlays and onlays. However, inlays and onlays are much sturdier than fillings, and so can cost less in the long-term.

Looking for a caring dental practice that puts its clients first? Contact us via phone, email, or schedule an appointment online to discuss your inlay and onlay needs or how to become a patient!

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