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Scroll down to find out the benefits of Onlays and Inlays in our FAQs



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Expect a detailed exam and consultation. Customized, laboratory made, aesthetically pleasing onlays and inlays.

Onlays and Inlays

1. In a nutshell what is an Inlay?

An Inlay is an alternative to a filling, used when the cavity has become too large. The inlay is shaped to the size of the tooth and fitted into place with dental cement.

2. In a nutshell what is an onlay?

An onlay goes a step further than an inlay and covers the cusp of the tooth. An onlay is customised in a dental laboratory to the size and shape of a prepared tooth.

3. What is the difference between an inlay and an onlay?

The main difference between an inlay and an onlay is their positioning on the tooth. An inlay fills the tooth, whereas the onlay covers the top of the tooth and therefore greater improves the biting surface. Their role is to protect the remaining tooth structure by resisting chewing forces.

4. Why would an inlay or onlay be used?

A dentist would advise an inlay or onlay when the a cavity is too large to be corrected by a filling but the tooth is not damaged enough to require a crown.

They are often used to replace old amalgam fillings with a stronger and customised inlay or onlay. This is especially true of the back teeth which work harder, are more prone to decay and require a stronger surface for chewing.

5. What are the advantages of an inlay or onlay?

Inlays and Onlays are superior to the standard amalgam fillings, they restore a much higher percentage of the chewing force and last much longer.

They have the advantage of aesthetics and improve your smile with their natural tooth colour.

They do not weaken the tooth structure as they don’t require much of the tooth to be removed in order to be fitted.

6. Which materials can an Onlay be made from?

At Dental & Skin we provide preventive dentistry and take your smile into consideration also.

An Onlay can be made from gold, resin materials as well as porcelain. Depending on the position of your tooth we will offer an opinion of which material we think is best whilst maintaining the aesthetics of your smile.

7. What are the benefits of an Onlay?

An Onlay greatly advances the longevity of your tooth, preserves tooth structure with its tailored fit and also makes brushing easier.

An Onlay will not change shape like an amalgam filling, as they are made from strong and resilient materials.

Onlays also improve the appearance of your smile with materials made from natural tooth colour.

8. What are the treatment steps of an onlay?

To fit your onlay at Dental & Skin there will be two appointments. The first will be to take moulded impressions which will be sent to the laboratory to be made and customised. The second appointment is where the onlay will be fitted to your tooth. Dentist will also check your bite with your newly fitted onlay.

9. Why choose an Inlay or Onlay over a filling?

A filling is a short term restorative solution to a cavity, and do not provide sufficient strength and resilience to biting forces in order to ensure longevity. A filling can fracture easily as well as change shape due to hot and cold temperatures.

An onlay or inlay provide sufficient strength and resilience needed for not only small cavities but large ones also. To fit an onlay or inlay most of the natural tooth does not have to be removed which therefore maintains its strength. They also have the benefit of aesthetics as they are custom made and coloured to fit your smile.

10. Onlays vs Crowns?

A crown is required when a tooth has suffered from a significant amount of decay or trauma. To fit a crown requires a lot more tooth preparation and natural tooth loss than fitting an Onlay. However, a crown will cover the entire outer surface of the tooth; ensuring longevity and a durable biting force.

An onlay is required when the tooth has not suffered as much damage and where minimal tooth preparation is needed. An onlay will not cover the entire surface of your tooth, it will only cover the biting surface which sufficient for minimal damage. An onlay also has the benefit of appearance and is made from many different materials.

11. Why an inlay or onlay at Dental & Skin?

At Dental & Skin we offer a choice of different materials for onlays and inlays and will give advice on which material, as well as working to improve your smile.

We practice evidence based dentistry, our technique and materials allow optimum treatment outcomes, this means that we can increase the life of restorations to its maximum capacity. We do this by send our patient’s moulds to a tested and tried laboratory and can offer quick appointments as well as review appointments to see how patients are getting on.

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