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Maximizing Tooth Life: Dental Inlays & Onlays

April 30, 2024
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Dental inlays and onlays in dentistry are a pair of restoration procedures used to mend decayed or damaged teeth. They are frequently known as “indirect fillings” due to the fact that they are crafted in a dental lab before being attached to the tooth.

Inlays and onlays are great options compared to traditional fillings. They require less removal of the natural tooth structure and offer a longer-lasting solution for tooth restoration. In this article, we will explore how inlays and onlays can extend the life of your teeth and why they are a worthwhile investment.

Understanding Inlays and Onlays

Dental inlays and onlays are sophisticated restorative techniques that serve as a middle ground between fillings and crowns. Designed to repair teeth that are too damaged for a filling but not enough for a crown, these options provide a conservative and aesthetic solution. We will examine what inlays and onlays are, their application process, and how they offer a durable and effective alternative for tooth restoration. Understand the nuances of these procedures and their role in maintaining dental health and functionality.


Inlays are dental solutions used to repair a tooth’s chewing surface. They are custom-made to fit the cavity’s shape and size and are typically made of porcelain, composite resin, or gold.

In contrast to traditional fillings, which are inserted directly into the cavity and then shaped, inlays are created in a dental laboratory and later bonded to the tooth. This method enables a more accurate fit and a stronger bond with the tooth.


Onlays, known as partial crowns, are used to repair larger areas of damage. They cover one or more cusps of the tooth and are also custom-made in a dental laboratory.

Similar to inlays, onlays are bonded to the tooth for a more secure fit and can be made of porcelain, composite resin, or gold.

The Role of Onlays and Inlays in Enhancing Tooth Longevity

Now that we understand inlays and onlays let’s explore how these dental procedures can extend the life of your teeth.

Preserves More Natural Tooth Structure

One of the main benefits of inlays and onlays is that they require less removal of the natural tooth structure compared to traditional fillings. This is because they are custom-made to fit the specific shape and size of the cavity, allowing for a more precise fit.

By preserving more of the natural tooth structure, inlays and onlays help maintain the tooth’s strength and integrity. This can prevent further damage or decay and extend the tooth’s life.

Stronger and More Durable

Inlays and onlays are made of strong and durable materials, such as porcelain or gold, which can withstand the forces of chewing and grinding. This makes them a more long-lasting solution than traditional fillings, which can wear down over time and may need replacing.

Additionally, inlays and onlays are bonded to the tooth, creating a stronger and more secure bond than traditional fillings. This can help prevent the filling from falling out or breaking, which can lead to further damage or decay.

Less Prone to Staining

Traditional fillings, especially composite resin ones, can become discolored over time and may need to be replaced for cosmetic reasons. In contrast, inlays and onlays are made of materials less prone to staining, such as porcelain or gold.

This means that your inlays and onlays will maintain their natural appearance for a longer period, extending the life of your tooth and saving you from the hassle and cost of replacing them.

Custom-Made for a Perfect Fit

Inlays and onlays are custom-made in a dental lab, ensuring a perfect fit for your tooth. This helps preserve more of the natural tooth structure and creates a seal that prevents bacteria from entering the tooth and causing further damage or decay.

Additionally, the custom fit of inlays and onlays can help prevent sensitivity and discomfort, making them a more comfortable and long-lasting solution for tooth restoration.

Cost of Dental Inlays and Onlays

While it may seem like a significant investment, it is essential to consider the long-term benefits of inlays and onlays. They can extend the life of your tooth, prevent the need for more extensive and costly treatments in the future, and provide a more natural and durable solution compared to traditional fillings. Talk to your dentist to discuss financial options.

Are Inlays and Onlays Right for You?

If you have a damaged or decayed tooth, inlays and onlays may be a suitable option. Discussing with your dentist to determine the most suitable treatment approach for your particular situation is essential.

Your dentist will evaluate the extent of the damage or decay and recommend the most appropriate treatment option. In some cases, a traditional filling may be sufficient, while a dental crown may be necessary in others.


Dental inlays and onlays are a more conservative and long-lasting solution for tooth restoration compared to traditional fillings. They preserve more of the natural tooth structure, are stronger and more durable, and are custom-made for a perfect fit. While they may come at a higher cost, they can extend the life of your tooth and provide a more natural and comfortable solution for dental restorations.

For individuals who are considering the option of dental inlays and onlays as a potential treatment solution, it is advisable to schedule a consultation with your trusted dentist. During this consultation, your dentist will carefully evaluate your current dental health and individual circumstances to determine the most appropriate and effective dental treatment plan specifically tailored to meet your unique needs and goals.

Talking to your dentist about dental inlays and onlays can help you learn about the advantages and results. This will help you make an informed decision that fits your needs and dental plans.

Contact Ashraf Dentistry today to discuss how inlays and onlays can provide a lasting solution for your smile.


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Lamine Diallo
Lamine Diallo
02:21 15 Jun 22
My family and I have been receiving care from Dr. Ashraf and his amazing team since we first moved to Waterloo in 2002. His assessment skills are spot on, he is gentle and is very skilled at working with anxious\nervous patients. My dental hygienist is Lin who is very knowledgeable, and passionate about her work. She is amazingly gentle yet very,very thorough when it comes to preventative dental care. She is didactic as well, taking the time to teach patients how to use certain equipment as well as addressing gingivitis in pro-active ways. We are in very capable hands.
Trisa Kapetaneas
Trisa Kapetaneas
18:12 01 Jun 22
I have been a patient here for over 2 years now and I've always enjoyed the experience. The staff are professional and have always made me feel comfortable. I recently had a cleaning done by Lynn for the first time and she was amazing! Will continue to visit for my checkups/cleanings.
Aamir Mirza
Aamir Mirza
14:54 03 May 22
Dr. Ashraf and his team is amazing. All work done under one umbrella for entire family. We all are very happy to be under the care for the last 20 plus years. Lin, dental hygienist is remarkable professional. She knows her job so well that I look forward to my cleaning every time I'm scheduled. Thank you Lin for your amazing work for my entire family!
Alena Delena
Alena Delena
14:50 02 May 22
My family loves Dr Ashraf. We've been through many dentists in many cities and he's by far our favourite one. He's always thorough and professional. His referrals are also of equal high caliber. I went to him for a root canal and a crown. I had many concerns and he addressed them all personally. He even went so far as to redo a root canal for me. Recommend.
Nicole Wood
Nicole Wood
15:31 28 Apr 22
I found Ashraf Dentistry a year ago and I absolutely love their dental clinic. Everyone is very kind and thorough. Lin is the best dental hygienist I've ever had! She takes the time to ensure I receive the care I need. Both dentists I've seen have also been very kind and wonderful at making me feel like my teeth are being taken care of. Highly recommend!
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