Sparkle Dental Care

What Is the Difference Between an Inlay and an Onlay?

November 15, 2018
Posted By: Dr Sobiya Pathmalinkam
Dental inlays and onlays | Bayside & Fairfield Dentist

At our dental clinics in Bayside and Fairfield, VIC, we frequently hear from patients who are unsure of the difference between a dental inlay and a dental only. We are committed to ensuring our patients understand more about the dental treatment options that are available because that is the best way for them to make good decisions about their oral health.

Let’s take a look at inlays and onlays to clarify the difference between the two.

Dental Crowns to protect damaged teeth

Most people are familiar with dental crowns, also known as a tooth “cap.” A dental crown fits over a prepared tooth much like a cap, protecting and strengthening a tooth that has sustained damage. Dental crowns are a valuable restoration that can save a damaged tooth.

If the tooth damage is not significant enough to warrant a dental crown, that is when your dentist might recommend an inlay or onlay.

Dental Inlays to Fix the Surface of Teeth

Inlays are designed to fix damage on the surface of the tooth. For example, if there is decay within the cusps of the teeth, a composite resin might be used to repair the damage. Composite will match the colour of the tooth for a seamless repair. Other materials are also used for dental inlays, including ceramic and gold.

Dental Onlays For Repairing Damage

When the area of damage on the surface of the tooth is larger—but not large enough to warrant a full crown—a dental onlay might be used. Made of the same material as inlays, dental onlays are used for the biting surface of a tooth and can extend beyond just one cusp. Unlike a dental crown, where much of the tooth needs to be removed to make room for it, dental onlays allow more of the tooth structure to remain intact.

Whether you come to our Bayside or Fairfield, VIC surgery, our dentists will be happy to talk to you about dental inlays and onlays to help determine which is best for your oral health requirements. We invite you to call and book a consult.