Onlays and Inlays

What’s The Difference Between A Filling and A Dental Onlay?

As a Glasgow dentist one of the questions we often get asked by patients is what the difference is between a filling and a dental onlay. If a patient comes to us with a tooth that is too badly damaged to support a filling but not so damaged that it needs a crown, then often the solution lies somewhere in the middle. Restoring a damaged tooth unnecessarily with a crown means removing more of the tooth structure than is necessary and a larger dental filling can further damage what is left of the tooth structure. The thing is, in circumstances such as these, do we save money now and risk future dental problems arising, or carry out what is in essence an unwanted treatment? There is one other solution and that is a dental onlay.

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Dental onlays and inlays are a similar restoration only they cover different parts of the tooth. Typically an inlay sits inside a hole in the tooth whereas an onlay is used on top of the tooth to build up its shape. The main difference between these and a filling is that the latter can be executed right away to restore a damaged or decayed tooth whereas onlays/inlays are done at a later date once they have been fabricated from an impression of the tooth taken by your dentist in Glasgow. Constructed from materials such as porcelain, composite resin and even gold, they are then cemented into place and any adjustments made to ensure patient comfort and a correct bite.

Benefits of onlays and inlays

As a method of treating tooth decay, onlays and inlays can help make a tooth less sensitive and prevent the eventual loss of the tooth. Other benefits include:

  • Discreet and virtually invisible since they are coloured to match your teeth
  • More of the natural tooth structure can be preserved since not as much structure needs to be removed as with a metal filling
  • Made from a durable material, they have the potential to last as long as 30 years which is far longer than a conventional amalgam filling
  • Can be used to replace silver fillings for more pleasing aesthetics
  • Since they save decayed teeth, it prevents the need for more extensive treatment further down the line
  • Less likely to fracture since they do not expand or contract, unlike metal fillings, when they come into contact with hot or cold food

If you’re experiencing problems with a damaged tooth then why not come and see what we can do for you. We offer a variety of treatments for damaged teeth including onlays and dental implants. Glasgow based Dr Colin Gardner will discuss your best options following an oral check up. Call us today on 0141 334 3408 to make an appointment or visit our website at where you’ll find plenty of information on all the treatments we offer.