Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

As much as you try to prevent them, cavities can happen. Whether it’s from overeating chocolate or other candy, which produces a host of bacteria, or being too tired to brush your teeth occasionally at night after a long day, now you’ve got a cavity. 

At K Street Dental & Orthodontic Group, our board-certified dentists, orthodontist, and endodontist provide comprehensive dental care that covers all of your dental needs. Your K Street Dental expert offers several treatment options to repair tooth decay and cavities to reduce your risk of painful dental complications. In addition to traditional fillings, you may be a candidate for inlays and onlays that provide several advantages over traditional fillings.

What is a dental inlay? 

Inlays and fillings are almost interchangeable but have a couple of differences. Suppose the amount of tooth decay is on the smaller side. In that case, you’ll likely get a regular filling, which is a composite material covering the space after the cavity is removed. Your filling is completed in one office visit. 

However, if your cavity is on the larger side and is entirely within the inside of the tooth, not extending to the cusp, or if your tooth is cracked on the inside, your dentist may select an inlay as the best option, which is made of porcelain instead of a composite resin or other material. 

What is a dental onlay?

Think of a dental onlay as an extension of an inlay. The inlay lies in the middle of your tooth between the two cusps; an onlay covers more of the tooth, including the cusp and part of the outside of your tooth. You need an onlay if you have a lot of decay around the cusp of your tooth as well as in the middle. Onlays are also used in some instances for a cracked tooth. An onlay is similar to a crown, but you can expect to keep more of your natural tooth.

What are the advantages of inlays and onlays? 

Inlays and onlays have several advantages over regular fillings even though they require two dental visits.


Inlays and onlays can be made from various materials, but our dentists use porcelain material for inlays and onlays. Regular fillings are usually made of a composite resin material or an amalgam (silver). The porcelain is stronger and more durable than a composite and has numerous advantages over the amalgam. 

Your inlay or onlay could last the rest of your life. A composite filling may only last five to seven years. An amalgam can last 10 to 15 years. However, inlays and onlays can last for 30 years or more with good dental hygiene. 

No staining 

Inlays and onlays won’t stain, whereas composite resin fillings can. A silver amalgam filling creates a permanent dark spot on your tooth. 


Because your dentist has taken a mold of your tooth, your inlay or onlay is custom-made to fit perfectly into the space inside your tooth and matches your surrounding teeth’s color. Both look natural, so neither you nor anyone else can tell the difference between them and your natural tooth. On the other hand, a silver amalgam filling is a grayish-black color. 

For all of your dental and orthodontic needs, call K Street Dental & Orthodontic Group, or book an appointment through our online portal

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