What’s The Difference Between Inlay vs Onlay In Dentistry?

BY Dr. McDowell  |  June 21st, 2024
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

Dental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and when issues arise, knowing the right treatment options can make a significant difference in restoring both function and aesthetics. In the realm of restorative dentistry, tooth inlays and onlays play a pivotal role, offering solutions that preserve natural tooth structure while addressing various levels of damage and decay.

Today, we’ll be covering:

What is a Tooth Inlay?

inlay vs. onlay

A tooth inlay is a type of dental restoration that is used when a cavity or decay is too extensive to be repaired with a simple filling but does not require a full dental crown. Inlays are custom-made pieces typically created from materials like porcelain, composite resin, or even gold. They fit into the prepared cavity within the tooth and are bonded securely in place by your dentist.

🗝️ Key Characteristics of Tooth Inlays:

Tooth inlays are an ideal choice when the damage to the tooth is within the confines of the cusps and does not extend to the biting surface or outer walls of the tooth.

What is a Dental Onlay?

A dental onlay, often referred to as a partial crown, is a more extensive restoration than an inlay. It covers one or more cusps of the tooth, as well as the biting surface, providing additional support and strength. Like inlays, onlays are custom-made to fit precisely onto the prepared tooth structure.

🗝️ Key Characteristics of Dental Onlays:

Dental onlays are particularly useful when the damage to the tooth is too extensive for a simple inlay but still allows for the preservation of a significant portion of the natural tooth structure.

How to Know Which One is Right for You?

Determining whether a tooth needs an inlay or an onlay depends on the extent and location of the damage or decay:

Consultation with Your Dentist

A thorough examination by your dentist, often including X-rays, will help determine the extent of the damage and the best treatment option.

Inlay vs. Onlay Decision

If the damage is limited to the center of the tooth and does not involve the cusps, an inlay may suffice. If the damage extends to one or more cusps or the biting surface, an onlay may be necessary.

Your dentist will discuss the options with you, taking into account factors such as the location of the damage, your oral health, and your preferences regarding materials used.

Cost of Dental Inlays or Onlays

The cost of dental inlays and onlays can vary based on several factors:

As a rough estimate, dental inlays and onlays typically range from $650 to $1,200 per tooth, with variations based on the above factors. Your dentist will provide a detailed cost estimate after evaluating your specific needs.

Signs That You Might Need a Tooth Inlay or Onlay

close up onlay

Several signs may indicate that you could benefit from a tooth inlay or onlay:

If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to schedule an appointment with your dentist promptly to prevent further damage and explore treatment options.

How to Take Care of Dental Inlays and Onlays

Proper care of dental inlays and onlays can help ensure their longevity and effectiveness:

With proper care and maintenance, dental inlays and onlays can last for many years, providing durable and natural-looking restorations that blend seamlessly with your natural teeth.

Your Go-To Stop For Dental Treatments

Tooth inlays and onlays are valuable restorative options that preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible while effectively treating damage and decay. Whether you require a smaller inlay or a more extensive onlay, consulting with your dentist is crucial to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

If you’re looking for a team that can treat tooth decay and restore your smile to it’s natural beauty, look no further than Wayzata Dental. Our highly rated team of dentists and technicians use the latest technology to keep your teeth safe, healthy, and beautiful for years to come! Contact us today to get started!

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..