Fillings and crowns are some of the most well-known options for patients dealing with cavities and tooth decay. However, there are options between these treatments that can benefit patients.
Are Dental Onlays and Inlays Right for Me?
If you are dealing with tooth decay, cavities, or other dental concerns up to tooth loss, dental inlays or onlays may be right for you.
If you want to learn more about your other options, our blog covers the differences between dental implants, bridges, and crowns.
Our skilled cosmetic dentists have years of experience with dental onlays and inlays. If you are looking for dental solutions, please contact our office to make an appointment.
What Are Dental Onlays and Inlays?
Dental inlays and onlays are often used as alternatives for dental fillings and crowns, respectively.
What Are Dental Inlays?
Dental inlays are shaped pieces placed on the tooth’s surface to fill in and secure a cavity. It is essentially a more advanced form of a filling that lasts longer and is often more effective.
Where fillings are made from composites, dental inlays are usually made from ceramic, porcelain, composite resin, or gold. This makes them more durable and long lasting.
What Are Dental Onlays?
A dental onlay is effectively a partial crown. Unlike a dental crown, an onlay does not require shaving off healthy enamel to place it.
An inlay covers only the middle of a tooth, and a crown covers the entire biting surface of a tooth. An onlay covers part of the tooth from the cusp (upper edge) down to the center. This means that an onlay can provide protection to the entire at-risk tooth structure without covering healthy enamel like a crown would.
What Is Covered During My Dental Consultation for Onlays and Inlays?
During your consultation, your cosmetic dentist will evaluate your condition and make a recommendation based on your expressed desires.
If you are interested in dental onlays or inlays, call Rancho Dental at (951) 699-4746 to schedule your complimentary consultation.
How Are Dental Onlays and Inlays Placed?
Inlays and onlays both take two appointments to be fully placed. Your damaged tooth will be cleaned during the first appointment, and any damaged or decaying material will be removed.
Next, your dentist will take a mold of your damaged tooth and send the impression to a lab. This impression is used to create a custom-fitted onlay or inlay. Finally, your dentist will apply a temporary seal to protect the tooth for the next few weeks.
During your second appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary seal and ensure the onlay or inlay matches the shape of your tooth. Then, they will bond it to your tooth with a dental resin composite, cementing the inlay or onlay in place.
What to Expect After Dental Onlays and Inlays
What Is My Recovery Like After Inlay or Onlay Placement?
After your inlay or onlay is placed, you should eat soft foods for up to a week. After that, you can treat your teeth as normal. You may experience sensitivity to heat or cold in the treated tooth for up to a week.
What Results Can I Expect After My Inlay or Onlay Implantation?
After your inlay or onlay procedure, you can expect your tooth to function normally without pain or discomfort. Your tooth may feel slightly different for a few weeks as you get used to it.
Are Dental Onlays and Inlays Permanent?
Inlays and onlays can strengthen and repair damaged teeth and are made from highly durable materials. However, they may need replacement after several decades.
How Do I Care for My Teeth After Dental Onlays and Inlays?
Once your inlays and onlays are secured, you can treat them just like your natural teeth. You should continue to brush and floss your teeth two to three times a day and avoid foods that are hard, sticky, or sugary. Maintaining your oral health is vital to the longevity of your inlays and onlays.
How Much Do Dental Onlays and Inlays Cost?
Your dental onlay or dental inlay cost will be based on the condition of your tooth and the number of teeth that require treatment. The cost of dental onlays and inlays will also vary depending on the material you choose. Inlays tend to be a slightly lower price than onlays.
Other Dental Services We Offer
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Onlays and Inlays
Will placing an onlay or inlay hurt?
Your cosmetic dentist will use local anesthesia to numb your mouth during the procedure. You may experience numbness or tingling in your mouth but should not feel pain.
We also offer sedation dentistry options if you are nervous about the procedure. Gas sedation, oral conscious sedation, or IV sedation can be used.
What material should I choose for my dental inlay or onlay?
Historically, the most common materials for inlays and onlays were gold alloys. These traditional fillings were hard enough to last, soft enough to feel natural, and easy to work with. All of these factors are still true; however, gold does not look natural.
Porcelain fillings, crowns, and caps have become more common in recent years because they are just as durable as gold (if not more so) and look more natural. Porcelain inlays and onlays are a bit more brittle than gold but can still last many decades.
The final option is a resin filling. Resin is a good option in some cases for patients who are looking for a less expensive and faster procedure.
Will my inlay or onlay be visible?
Your cosmetic dentist will do their best to provide you with a natural-looking smile. For most patients, inlays are not visible unless you are paying close attention. Inlays also tend to be applied to molars (in the back of your mouth), making them harder to see.
Onlays may be slightly more visible, especially if they are made from gold. Onlays cover the upper surface of your tooth, so they are easier to see. Porcelain or resin onlays are harder to see because they often closely match the color and appearance of your natural teeth.
However, porcelain may look slightly different than natural enamel over time, as it stains more easily than enamel. To prevent this, avoid consuming things like coffee, red wine, or dark-colored berries (like raspberries, cherries, and blueberries).
Which do I need: dental onlay vs. crown?
Dental onlays are usually a better choice than crowns where possible. When compared to crowns, onlays preserve more of the healthy and intact tooth. Onlays do not require significant enamel shaving to fit over your tooth. Maintaining more intact enamel helps your teeth stay stronger and healthier over time.
While the procedure costs are similar, onlays are usually a lower price than crowns.
Which do I need: dental inlay vs. filling?
Fillings are usually recommended for minor cavities. If your cavity is a bit larger, inlays become the better option. Dental inlays last longer than most fillings and have a lower rate of failure over time.
How long do inlays and onlays last?
For most patients, inlays and onlays last between 20 and 30 years. This will vary somewhat depending on the materials used and the level of care and dental hygiene patients maintain.
How Can I Contact Rancho Dental for My Cosmetic Dentistry Needs?
If you are in the Temecula, California, area and want to learn more about dental onlays or inlays, give the professional team at Rancho Dental a call. We can answer any questions you have and schedule your complimentary consultation.
Call 951-699-4746 today or use our contact form.