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Closeup of dentist's hands explaining teeth model to female patient at clinic

Oh no, your tooth is damaged! This damage may be the result of a chip, a break, or decay. No matter the cause, Belmont Dental Group is here to help you understand your options for treatment. We work with you to choose the best option based on your unique situation. Then, we are here with kindness and skill to restore your smile.

Before we can explain to you what an Inlay and an Onlay are, it’s best to when they are the best option. A filling is great when there is minor damage. In this case, minor means that there is plenty of undamaged tooth structure all around. An Inlay or an Onlay is best when there is a large area of damage, where a normal filling will not suffice.

So, what is the difference between an Inlay and an Onlay?

An INlay fits in the center dip of a tooth. THey are an excellent choice when the damage is extensive enough to choose a strong, better looking, longer lasting option than a regular filling. Think of an Inlay as a custom made filling, crafted outside of your mouth and carefully fitted to your tooth. The materials are beautiful and much stronger than a filling as well.

An ONlay is a larger version of an inlay, and it covers at least one of the pointy tips – the cusps – of the tooth. A stronger restoration in this case is a stronger recommendation, because a functional part of the tooth can be carefully replaced. In the past, dentists have had to treat teeth like these with full coverage crowns, which cover the ENTIRE visible portion of a tooth – inside, outside, up and down! Going for an Onlay is a way of conserving that invaluable tooth structure in a way that conventional materials just cannot do.

There are several different materials used for inlays or onlays. Composite resin is the material most commonly used to fill large cavities and is tooth-colored, to match natural teeth. Ceramic inlays and onlays are made of porcelain, a durable, strong, stain-resistant material that mimics the color of natural teeth. Gold is sometimes for back teeth, and is a strong, durable option that comes with an additional fee. Your dentist will work with you to determine the best option for you, based on your tooth’s damage.

Typically, the Inlay and Onlay treatments take two visits. The first visit is when your dentist cleans up the damage and takes a mold of the tooth. This mold is then sent out to the laboratory, where they make your customized Inlay or Onlay. In the meantime, the tooth is protected with a temporary restoration that is generally quite comfortable. Once the lab has sent us back your permanent Inlay or Onlay, you will come back in to have it placed comfortably.

Dr. Sean Langton, one of our cosmetic dentists, has traveled across the country to study Biomimetic Dentistry. This is the science of lifelike repair to damaged teeth. The outcome is a fully functional and very beautiful tooth.

If you’re ready to find a team committed to your beautiful, healthy smile, Belmont Dental Group is ready to meet you! We cover all kinds of dental care, going beyond basic teeth cleaning to include services from Periodontics (gum health) to Cosmetic Dentistry to Urgent Care, and we believe in helping our patients be partners in their own dental health. Call our dental office today at (617) 484-2431 or contact us through our website for a consultation.