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What Is the Difference Between Inlay and Onlay Fillings?

Onlay fillings shutterstock 1104526709 v3

Despite how much we try to avoid them, cavities can still pop up and disrupt our dental health. While there are a lot of factors that contribute to tooth decay, the treatment for a cavity depends on how severe your tooth damage actually is. If your tooth damage is too severe for a regular filling, your dentist may suggest an inlay filling. Or, if your tooth is at more serious risk, your dentist may recommend an onlay filling or a crown.

Filling Differences

The main difference between inlay and onlay fillings is the amount of decay that each filling can remedy. Inlay fillings can protect remaining tooth structure when there is too much damage or decay for a regular filling. However, these types of fillings aren’t suitable for decay that has damaged entire cusps of a tooth.

Onlay fillings will cover more of the tooth than inlay fillings, but they cannot cover the entire tooth. Your dentist will recommend an onlay filling if you require a filling that covers the chewing surface, or cusps, of a tooth. Dentists often use onlay fillings as alternatives to crowns, because they can place onlay fillings without having to drill down as much of the existing tooth.

Filling Procedure

Although these types of fillings are a bit different, the procedure to install them is quite similar, because it requires at least two appointments to successfully create and place your inlay or onlay filling. The first appointment determines the severity of your tooth decay. During this appointment, your dentist examines the tooth structure, removes decay, and obtains an impression of your tooth with a dental mold.

If they aren’t able to on site, your dental office sends the mold to a dental laboratory where specialists create a porcelain or gold filling that fits the exact structure of your tooth. In your initial visit, your dentist may also insert a temporary mold to fit your tooth until the official model is ready. During the following appointment, your dentist replaces the temporary filing with the new one and bonds it to your affected tooth.

Filling in the Blanks

Fortunately, both inlay and onlay fillings can successfully protect your decayed teeth for many years. With proper maintenance such as regular brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting your dentist, you can extend the life of your fillings and preserve your smile.

If you want to find the best solution for your cavity, trust the expert opinion of Eddie Orobitg, D.M.D. With over 20 years of Leesburg dental experience, Dr. Orobitg recommends the best options to maintain your dental health and happiness. To get started, schedule your appointment today and call 352-787-5919.

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