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Inlays & Onlays

Joyful woman showing off her beautiful teeth with a smileTooth decay presents the risk of further tooth damage or even tooth loss. When your teeth are decayed, there are different treatments available to fix the problem. Crowns and fillings can be used to fill cavities. However, depending on the extent of dental decay, our dental team at 253 Dental Care may recommend other cavity treatment options such as inlays and onlays. When crowns and fillings cannot address your tooth decay or cavities, inlays and onlays may be an option. We will examine your decayed tooth to see the most appropriate and effective treatment to protect it and prevent progressive damage.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Often referred to as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are a kind of indirect dental restoration, meaning they are fabricated outside the mouth. Inlays and onlays are used to fill a large cavity and help improve the strength of your teeth. Inlays and onlays are constructed of custom-made solid materials. Depending on the cavity shape and depth, inlays or onlays are shaped to fill the gap. They may be constructed of a material such as porcelain, although there are other materials we use.

When to Get Inlays and Onlays

While crowns can cover cavities, if they are too much to offer protection from decay, inlays and onlays come in handy. Similarly, if dental fillings are not sufficient enough to provide the coverage needed for a decayed tooth, you may consider inlays and onlays.


In most cases, inlays and onlays are used to replace a damaged or fractured cavity filling. When you visit our dental office, our dentist will remove any remaining filling in your cavity. The team will also remove any cavitated tooth tissue. During the first visit, the dental team prepares a mold of the cavitated or damaged teeth. A tooth impression is obtained and used to determine what kind of material to use. Our dentist will help you choose the material and the shade you prefer.

When the inlays and onlays are being prepared in the lab, our professionals will make a temporary filling to fill your cavity. The temporary filling helps you to prevent further decay and offer protection from thermal stimulation. After the restoration is ready, you will have another appointment with our dentist to fit in the inlay or the onlay. The dentist will administer an anesthetic to reduce pain and promote comfort. The dentist will remove the temporary filling and replace it with the inlay or the onlay.

Caring for Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays last long and are durable. Inlays can last between five and 30 years, and their lifespan depends on the kind of material that has been used to make them. An inlay or onlay constructed of a composite material can endure for longer compared to a porcelain-made one. How you care for them determines how long they last. Brush and floss regularly as advised by our dentist to help lengthen the lifespan of your inlay or onlay. If you tend to grind your teeth while sleeping, wearing nightguards can help protect your teeth and the restorations. Also, avoid eating hard foods since they are likely to crack the material.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are strong and are more resistant to damages as compared to regular cavity fillings. The restorations are custom-made to fit the color and shape of your teeth. They are stain-resistant and are known to improve the appearance of the teeth.

Are your dental fillings failing or do you have cavities that need to be covered? Visit us at 253 Dental Care. Feel free to call us at (253) 765-0184 so that we can schedule an appointment.
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