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(609) 921-1020

Jan 19
By James Altomare, DDS

Inlays and onlays differenceAdvances in restorative dentistry have led to the development of new materials and techniques. Yet the fundamental focus on wellness and dental health remain the key focus of restorative dental care. This is how Dr. James Altomare approaches restorative treatments for patients in the greater Skillman, Montgomery, and Princeton, NJ area.

When a person suffers serious injury or tooth decay, they may be eligible for an inlay or onlay. Let’s discuss the basics of inlays and onlays and when someone may be eligible for one of these dental restorations.

About Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are designed to address serious damage or decay affecting a person’s teeth.

In terms of size and ability to restore teeth, onlays are bigger than inlays. Think of it this way:

  • Inlays are more substantial than traditional dental fillings, which are ideal for cavities and minor tooth decay
  • Onlays are not as substantial as dental crowns, which cap a severely damaged or decayed tooth

We’ll get into more details about these individual restorations in a bit.

The Extent of Decay and Fractures Matter

The key factor in determining candidacy for inlays and onlays is the extent of the tooth damage. When a tooth is too seriously damaged for a filling but there is still a lot of healthy tooth structure still in place, an inlay or onlay is a good option.

Tooth-Colored or Metal Inlays/Onlays

Like other dental restorations, inlays and onlays come in metal and tooth-colored forms. The ideal type of restoration for you will depend on a number of factors, but the end goal is to restore your ability to bite and chew while preventing further harm to your teeth.

Figuring Out How Much Healthy Tooth Structure Is Left

During the consultation process, we will perform a full exam of the affected tooth or teeth. When doing so, we will have to determine just how much stable tooth structure remains. This determines if an inlay is more ideal or if an onlay should be used.

An inlay will help with deeper cavities or fractures that aren’t treatable with a filling, while an onlay is more ideal for issues with a deep cavity or damage that extends beyond the cusp/biting surface of a tooth.

Do I Need Inlays and Onlays or Dental Crowns?

Sometimes the ideal option for treatment isn’t an inlay or onlay. When tooth structure is too severely compromised for fillings, inlays, and onlays, your ideal option for treatment is likely a dental crown. These are caps that help cover the remaining tooth structure. A crown protects the last healthy tooth structure while helping you bite and chew without severe discomfort.

Our Dental Care Team is Here to Help

There are so many important considerations when it comes to dental restorations and your overall wellness. During your visit to our practice, we will make sure you get the treatment you need to smile with confidence, eat without discomfort, and go about your day without suffering serious pain.

Learn More About Dental Restorations

If you would like to learn more about inlays, onlays, and other kinds of restorations for tooth decay and fractures, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist. You can reach our office in Skillman by phone at (609) 921-1020.

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