The Difference Between Inlays and Onlays

August 2, 2017 - 3 minutes read

When it comes to restorative dentistry, there are plenty of procedures to consider. If you are suffering from a severely damaged or decayed tooth, you may want to consider having inlays put in. Or, you may want to consider having onlays put in. What exactly is the difference between these two procedures? Our dentist in Turlock offers an explanation that can help you understand the technicalities between inlays and onlays, giving you better insight to what type of procedure might work best for you.

What Is an Inlay?

Dental inlays are an innovative part of restorative dentistry that can help repair the tops of the teeth. They are typically made to look natural, and can strengthen your teeth when you chew and bite. The most unique aspect of inlays that must be considered is that they are set on the surface of your tooth between the bumps (we call them cusps). This helps to repair a decayed or damaged tooth and fortifies your teeth against further damage when you bite.

What Is an Onlay?

Dental onlays are slightly different from inlays, but still serve to protect and strengthen the tooth. They are also known as “partial crowns” amongst restorative dentists, and are typically meant to replace the full surface of the tooth. They don’t require the chewing surface to be removed, and can cover one or all the cusps. They simply sit on top of the tooth, and can be treated naturally.

Inlays and Onlays Together

Inlays and onlays both have their advantages. Inlays can be used alongside onlays depending on the level of damage your tooth has faced. A dental inlay works best when just a part of the tooth’s chewing surface is damaged. The inlay will sit “inside” of the tooth, on the cusps, sitting there to help you chew. Onlays, on the other hand, are great for when the entire tooth is damaged. While surface removal isn’t necessary, an onlay helps to cover the entire surface, fortifying your teeth even further. Think of inlays more like fillings, and onlays more like crowns.

Schedule Your Inlays and Onlays Consultation Today!

Do either of these restorative dentistry procedures seem right for you? We’d love to help you learn more. To schedule a consultation, contact us at Eggleston Dental Care in Turlock, CA. Our dentists are happy to assist you! You can also give us a call at (209) 634-9582 or look through our website to see what else we have to offer.