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Onlays Vs. Inlays

If you have a bad cavity, Dr. Simpson may recommend a dental filling called an inlay or an onlay, depending on the cavity’s severity. But what is the difference between inlays and onlays - and why would your dentist choose one over the other?

Dental Inlays

Dental inlays are fillings that are pre-made outside the mouth for a specific tooth. To get an inlay, first Dr. Simpson will remove any damaged portion of the tooth. Next, she will take a mold of your tooth and design the inlay to fit into the tooth’s grooves. The mold is then sent to a lab, where it is manufactured and then sent back to Dr. Simpson’s office.

In the meantime the patient is fitted with a temporary inlay. Inlays are made of the same composite, porcelain and even gold used in regular fillings and veneers, but due to their design, inlays are stronger than normal fillings.

Dental Onlays

Conversely to inlays, dental onlays are a more serious form of filling for teeth with more decay than a tooth needing an inlay. An onlay is best suited for cavities that cover the biting surface and/or cuspid of the tooth. Dental onlays are made the same way inlays are made, but onlays cover harder-to-repair areas of the tooth.

Dr. Simpson can recommend whether you need an onlay or an inlay, but the general rule of thumb is that the inlay is for the cavities that are not on the cuspids and onlays are for cavities that are on the cuspids.

Want to learn more. Contact Dr. Simpson today at 910-239-7163.

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