The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Fillings have long been considered one of the most effective dental restorations for repairing teeth that have areas of decay. Brushing our teeth regularly is the best way to protect our teeth from decay, which occurs when the bacteria in our mouths interacts with sugar in the food we eat to form acids. These can erode the natural enamel covering our teeth, penetrating the softer, more sensitive inner layers of the teeth. When these inner layers are exposed and come into contact with food and drink, it can be extremely painful. There is also the risk that bacteria can get trapped in the areas of decay and trigger the onset of infection – something which could put a decayed tooth at risk of falling out.


Decay usually starts out as a dark spot on your teeth which will grow larger the longer the decay is allowed to progress. Fillings are successful at restoring small areas of decay, but when what happens when the decay is more extensive than a standard filling can handle? If this is the case for you, your Palm Beach cosmetic dentist may suggest that you have inlays or onlays.

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays have the same basic design, but onlays are larger than inlays. While regular fillings are pieces of resin that are placed into the tooth and then molded to cover the area of decay, inlays and onlays are designed specifically for the tooth that they are to cover. As a result, the procedure to receive inlays or onlays takes place over at least two visits to your dentist with the first being used to plan your treatment and the second to place the restoration. Inlays and onlays can be created from either porcelain or resin depending on your individual requirements. 


Inlays and onlays are also much larger than standard fillings. Inlays are designed to cover a large part of the chewing surface of molars and pre-molars, while onlays not only cover the chewing surface but also the cusps of the teeth. These are the four points on each corner of the affected tooth. This gives much greater coverage and protection to your natural tooth. Our cosmetic dentists in Palm Beach Gardens are delighted to offer both options at our dental treatment center.

Benefits of choosing inlays or onlays

There are a number of different benefits associated with using inlays or onlays to restore your damaged teeth. These include the following:


-       Unlike crowns which require natural teeth to undergo significant preparation, very little of the natural tooth needs to be removed for inlays and onlays to be fitted. This helps to preserve the usual strength and durability of the tooth.


-       Inlays and onlays won’t stain your natural tooth – something which is fairly common when a patient has regular amalgam fillings which, over time, cause teeth to look greyish in color.


-       Inlays and onlays are made in a tooth-colored material that matches your existing teeth to ensure that your restoration is as discreet as possible.


-       Since they are created from strong, durable materials, inlays and onlays can add an additional amount of strength to your natural teeth, helping them to be preserved for longer.


-       Inlays and onlays are much less expensive than many other types of the dental restoration including crowns, bridges, and dental implants.


For more information about the benefits of inlays and onlays, or to discuss your suitability for this effective treatment, please contact our cosmetic dentist in Palm Beach Gardens, FL today.