What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Orange County Inlays and OnlaysMetal fillings have traditionally been used to treat cavities. Unfortunately, metal fillings leave the teeth looking less than perfect. With inlays or onlays treatment, your old metal fillings can be replaced to leave your teeth looking flawless. If you are looking for an Orange County cosmetic dentistry practice, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen. In the meantime, read on to learn about inlays and onlays and what this treatment can do for you.

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are treatments designed to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay. Traditional fillings, inlays, and onlays are made of tooth colored materials, either porcelain or composite resin. Though inlays and onlays are used much in the same way as dental fillings, inlays and onlays are quite different.

A key difference is the treatment process for inlays and onlays. Traditional fillings are placed in a single dental visit, but inlays and onlays typically require two appointments. This is because inlays and onlays are custom made in a dental lab from impressions taken of the teeth. The impression is made during the first dental visit after the tooth is cleaned and all decayed areas are removed. When replacing old fillings with an inlay or onlay, the filling will be removed before the impression is made. Once the impression is made, a temporary filling will be place while the inlay or onlay is crafted. Once finished, a second dental appointment is needed to place the new inlay or onlay. 

The Difference between an Inlay and Onlay

Though inlays and onlays are used in similar ways, they are different from one another. Both inlays and onlays are used to treat decay and restore strength and function to damaged rear teeth (the molars and pre-molars), but they are used to treat different areas and amounts of damage.

Inlays are the smaller restoration of the two treatments. Inlays are used to treat decay and damage within the cusps of the back teeth. The cusps are the bumpy structures along the top of the molars that aid in chewing. Inlays are specifically used when decay is minimal and does not extend to the cusps.

Onlays, like inlays, are used to treat dental decay and damage. Onlays are different from inlays in that they are used when the damage is more extensive, which is why onlays are sometimes called partial crowns. Onlays are used when damage extends beyond one or more cusps, even as far as the side of a tooth.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen

The benefits of inlay and onlay treatment are endless. After undergoing treatment, patients enjoy the confidence of a smile free of unsightly metal restorations. Inlays and onlays are just one of many treatments to restore the look and function of your teeth.

Dr. Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen offers patients in Orange County full mouth reconstruction treatments, including inlays, onlays, and dental fillings, to improve oral health and appearance. We invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen today for your personalized treatment plan.