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What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

S&C Dental offers our Scottsdale, AZ patients multiple options when teeth are damaged or broken. Inlays and onlays provide the perfect way to restore teeth without fillings or crowns. An inlay or an onlay fits your tooth like a puzzle piece. This custom inlay or onlay is ideal for damaged teeth that need more than a filling but not enough for a dental crown. You can trust us to provide the highest quality comprehensive oral care customized to your needs. We’ll determine if an inlay or onlay is best for your dental issues.

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Portrait of smiling woman in dentist's clinic after getting inlays

Inlay vs. Onlay

We perform an inlay procedure when only a part of your tooth is damaged or broken. We’ll pre-mold the inlay to fit perfectly into the grooves of your teeth, matching the color of the surrounding teeth. A dental onlay procedure is often performed when a traditional filling cannot repair the area. We commonly use onlays on the biting surface or cusp of teeth. We offer onlays and inlays made with porcelain for a durable, strong fit, or traditional composite resin. The material is not as visible on the back molars, but most patients choose attractive porcelain for a front tooth onlay’s natural appearance.




Inlays and Onlays vs. Other Dental Treatments

Inlays and onlays are similar to dental crowns, fillings, and veneers because they address many of the same dental issues. The differences between inlays and onlays and other dental treatments include:

  • Veneers and inlays can both cover the front and sides of teeth. Porcelain veneers are built to boost the appearance without the structural support of an inlay.
  • A filling fills empty space following the removal of a cavity, while an inlay provides superior structural support to the tooth.
  • An onlay is used when the damage to a tooth is not severe enough for a crown. A crown is both functional and cosmetic, covering and reshaping the entire tooth.

Applying Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are applied at two different dental visits. At the first visit, we’ll remove or replace the damaged area of your tooth to prepare for the inlay or onlay. We’ll taken an impression of your tooth and apply a temporary sealant. We’ll remove the temporary dental sealant at the second visit and apply the customized inlay or onlay to your tooth.

Our Conservative Approach

At S&C Dental, we want to do what’s best for your teeth. We choose the most conservative approach to ensure your comfort and oral health come first. We try to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible while repairing the issue. We understand putting a large filling in your tooth will weaken its structure, leading to a possible future root canal. Dental crowns require removing a large portion of your natural tooth, leading to potential future damage. Inlays and onlays allow us only to remove damaged portions of your teeth, helping to save the natural tooth.




Contact S&C Dental For Inlays and Onlays

If you’ve been considering a tooth transformation, inlays and onlays might be the perfect solution. We know decayed, damaged, and broken teeth can be challenging problems. The good news is that inlays and onlays provide an aesthetically-pleasing, durable way to solve many dental issues. We’ll look at your dental issues and help you decide if an inlay or onlay is the best fit for your needs. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.


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