Difference Between Inlays and Onlays

Among the many options available to treat tooth decay, your dentist might opt for dental inlays or onlays instead of using a crown or a filling. Dentists go ahead with inlays or onlays when the crown is too big and filling is too small to fill the gap. The benefit of using inlays and onlays is that they are not as invasive as crowns. 

However, there are a few differences between inlays and onlays. A dentist will consider these differences whilst deciding which component can be used for the filling. 

Differentiating Inlays and Onlays

Inlays Repair the Surface

Inlays are used to prevent further damage to the tooth surface or repair the damage between teeth cusps. Your dentist may put forth different options for you to choose from for the inlays. 

Majorly there are gold, resin, and ceramics based inlays that will fit above the teeth of between the cusps. Out of all the materials, composite resins are the most discreet as they match the colour of your teeth and merge with the shape. 

Onlays are Mostly Used for Larger Areas

A dentist will use onlays to treat and rectify a larger area of the tooth. Onlays are attached to the biting area of the teeth, and they can also be extended towards the cusps joining two teeth together. 

Onlays are also called partial crowns, and you can choose between different onlays materials, including gold, ceramics, and composite resins. Onlays can be used to substitute crowns, especially when you want to save more teeth and spend less. 

Getting Inlays and Onlays

It will probably take two visits to your dentist in Harrow to get the complete treatment for inlays and onlays with the first visit about knowing the damage in the decayed tooth. During the second visit, the dentist will place the inlay or onlay on your teeth as required. Out of the two, inlays are more easy and comfortable than outlays because inlays are meant to correct minor tooth decay and treat less-intensive infections.


Inlays and onlays are about preserving your teeth in its natural form and avoid you from getting invasive procedures, if not needed. Make sure that you meet your nearest dentist in Harrow so he can check your dental condition and suggest the right treatment for you.

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