When a filling isn’t sufficient for repairing a damaged tooth, inlays or onlays may be required.

Inlays and onlays are forms of restorative dentistry. Unlike fillings, inlays and onlays are bonded to the outside of a tooth and are therefore classed as indirect forms of dental restoration.

What are inlays and onlays?

Sometimes a tooth may be damaged or decayed beyond the point of needing a filling. Inlays and onlays are ideal for repairing larger cavities that might otherwise progress to the point of needing a crown if left untreated.

Where an inlay is a single piece of solid material that is bonded to the outside of a damaged tooth, an onlay covers more of the tooth including the cusp. Onlays are thus larger than inlays, covering a greater surface area.

Why might I need inlays or onlays?

Where fillings are insufficient for repairing a cavity, but teeth are not yet at the point of requiring a crown, inlays and onlays may be used. Your dentist may suggest this course of action if they feel there is enough of the damaged tooth or teeth to be preserved.

What are the benefits of inlays and onlays?

A key benefit of both inlays and onlays is their durability. These treatments are a non-invasive way of restoring function to damaged teeth and can last anywhere between 5 and 30 years.

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