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Inlays and Onlays


Woman smiling with perfect teeth.If you have teeth with moderate decay, you may have more options than traditional fillings. At SmileCOS Dentistry, we offer our patients inlays and onlays – two dental restoration procedures that help restore the look and function of an affected tooth.

The typical patient that needs an inlay or onlay is one that has too much decay in a tooth for a filling to fix, but enough of the tooth’s enamel left to avoid the need for a dental crown. Inlays and onlays are similar, but they have a few differences as well.

What are Dental Inlays?


A dental inlay works a lot like a filling. As the name suggests, it sits inside your tooth, much like a filling. Tooth inlays do not go over the cusp of the tooth. Luckily, inlays are the same color as your teeth and come in either porcelain or ceramic materials. The inlay sits right in your tooth, becoming a part of the tooth both physically and cosmetically.

What are Dental Onlays?


Dental onlays take the inlay one-step further. It sits in the tooth, as the inlay, but also extends over the tooth’s cusps. The onlay bonds with the tooth, giving the tooth the seal it needs to stay healthy and strong. Onlays are less invasive than dental crowns and leave more of your tooth’s enamel intact.

The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays


Inlays and onlays bond well with your natural teeth. This helps to strengthen the tooth as much as 75 percent. Traditional or silver fillings, on the other hand, weaken the tooth by as much as 50 percent, so it is easy to see why patients often choose inlays and onlays.

The ceramic or porcelain material used to make your inlay or onlay is also durable itself. Many patients only need an inlay or onlay one time in their life because of its durability. If an inlay or onlay does crack, though, the repair process is simple – we do not need to remove any more enamel, we just fill the area, and you can go on with your life.

The Most Common Use


We often place inlays and onlays when an old silver filling breaks or becomes loose. Patients are often tired of the look of the silver fillings and want something less obvious. Our lab makes your inlay or onlay specifically for you. Our dentists take an impression of your mouth and the tooth that needs the restoration. We send the impression to the lab where the technicians make a restoration that looks just like your other teeth.

The inlay and onlay procedure is much like the filling procedure. We start by removing the decay, but then we take the impressions of your mouth, filling the area with a temporary restoration. After a few weeks, you will come back and get the permanent inlay or onlay placed in the tooth.

If you would like to see if you are a good candidate for inlays or onlays, call SmileCOS Dentistry at (719) 394-3304 today to make your appointment.



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