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What are the differences between inlays, onlays, and dental fillings?

Dental Cosmetic Dentistry
DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)
Dr Jaclyn Toh
"Dentist with an interest in comprehensive dentistry."
(45 Reviews)
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An inlay is the technical term for a lab-made filling. This means the filling is made outside the mouth on a model of the tooth (indirectly) as opposed to being constructed directly in the patient's mouth with a direct filling. By working on a stone or virtual model, materials such as gold or porcelain can be used, since these require firing in an oven at such high temperatures (around 900 deg C) that would be impossible in the mouth.

These materials are much harder and stronger than the materials used for direct fillings (amalgam, composite or glass ionomer types of cement), so should come with better long-term performance IF the cavity is prepared properly and the inlay is properly cemented. The weakest part of any inlay will be the cement layer which can degrade over time (especially in acidic environments) or break. When the cement layer fails, the inlay may fall out of the tooth and need replacing.

An onlay refers to a larger inlay, that usually extends to cover (rest on top of) a cusp. Onlays are usually made for teeth that have much larger cavities that require cuspal protection, for example after a root canal treatment. Onlays can be made from the same materials as inlays. You may have heard onlays referred to as partial crowns.


Dr Jaclyn Toh
BDS

ELITE DENTAL GROUP
1 GRANGE ROAD
ORCHARD BUILDING
#12 - 03 Singapore 239693

86 views 15 Jan 2020
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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