Inlays and Onlays

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Inlays and Onlays in Irvine

Dental fillings might be the most common way to restore decaying teeth, but inlays and onlays are also vital. With the right dentist, you can receive inlays or onlays in Irvine to target damage caused by tooth decay or minor injuries. This fast, routine treatment is comfortable and delivers lasting results that can keep your teeth healthier overall.

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

As tooth decay becomes worse and worse, it can begin to eat away at your teeth. This often starts out as minor cavities, which can easily be treated. But the longer it continues, the greater the damage to your teeth can be. Inlays and onlays are two common ways to restore damaged teeth and stop tooth decay right in its tracks. The difference between the two has to do with the placement of the inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays can also be used to replace defective fillings that have begun to be surrounded by additional tooth decay.
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Inlays are placed more toward the inner part of the tooth. After removing any decay or defective material, we clean out the tooth and place the inlay over the area, sealing it from the outside world and all the bacteria in it. Inlays can come in a range of materials, including porcelain or composite materials, which can match the natural color of your teeth.


Onlays are much like inlays, only they are placed more over or on top of a damaged tooth. However, they can also sit inside the tooth to effectively seal it off from additional bacteria or decay. Onlays are especially effective at restoring larger portions and restoring a good amount of stability to the tooth. Like inlays, onlays can also come in several available materials, depending on your goals.

Do I Need Inlays or Onlays or Something Else?

Just looking at your teeth in the mirror, it can be hard to figure out what kind of restorative treatment will be right for you. Depending on the extent of the damage and the state of your tooth, you may need fillings, inlays, onlays, or even crowns. To see which is right for you, we recommend scheduling your appointment at our office and meeting with our experienced dentist. Once they discuss your symptoms and perform a full examination, they can help match you with the right treatment.

The Process of Getting Inlays/Onlays

The overall process for getting an inlay or onlay is quite similar to getting a dental filling. The key steps are much the same: clearing out decay and bacteria, they sealing it with your chosen material while also restoring the shape of your tooth with it.
In general, patients report about the same comfort levels as a dental filling. We take care to ensure that the entire process is as stress-free. We use local numbing anesthetic to keep the treatment area painless while we clean and seal your tooth. If you are uncomfortable at any point, just let us know and we will work with you to find a solution that reduces discomfort or anxiety.  In many cases, you may be able to get your inlays/onlays with only a single visit to our office. However, it depends on the state of the teeth you want to treat.
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What Are the Results?

Once you have your inlays or onlays, you may need to wait a few hours for the numbing to wear off. While you can still drive, you may want to wait before eating anything, because it will be easy to bite your cheeks or tongue while numb. While inlays and onlays are quite durable, especially porcelain ones, we recommend you avoid biting down with treated teeth on hard foods.
Dental inlays and onlays can last you for years to come, but several factors can determine their durability. First and most important is the care you give to them. By flossing and brushing regularly along with regular dental visits, you give your teeth the boost they need to continue fighting off tooth decay. Additionally, the type of material affects how long an inlay or onlay will last. Materials such as porcelain are stronger and last longer, while amalgam ones might have a shorter shelf life. Be sure to ask your dentist about what material is best for you during your visit. They can help match you with your ideal choice based on your goals, teeth, and budget expectations.

Before & After Dental Implants

Patient before treatment picture
Patient after treatment picture

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Treating tooth decay is one of our highest priorities, and we hope the same goes for our patients. The sooner you tackle signs of decay or damaged teeth, the easier it will be to treat them with more routine procedures. Contact us today to set up your appointment and see if inlays and onlays in Irvine are right for you.