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Inlays and Onlays

Woman smiling with perfect teethAt Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness we provide a wide array of treatment services and inlays/onlays are one of them. These forms of tooth restoration are great for treating problems more severe than the typical cavity. Here is what you need to know about them.

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

An onlay is compared to a crown quite frequently, but the reality is that it is somewhere between a crown and an inlay. Instead of covering the whole tooth or a large portion of the surface, an onlay will cover the entire surface and part of the crown. These are used for damages that have affected these areas of the teeth, such as surface-level tooth decay or chipping. Onlays are more affordable than crowns overall and thus they are a great way to restore a tooth that is partially damaged.

When more than a filling is needed, but less than an onlay - an inlay is used to treat cavities that have grown large in size but not large enough to require a root canal. Unlike fillings which are fitted into the tooth after the cavity has been cleaned, inlays are created based on an impression of both the tooth and cavity. This provides superior accuracy and creates an overall stronger tooth. Onlays are created using this same method.

Materials and Longevity

Both inlays and onlays come in various materials that ultimately affect both longevity and price. Whether you are looking for a durable material that can match the aesthetics of the rest of your teeth, or you simply want pure longevity and durability for the back of the mouth, there is something that will fit your needs.


Porcelain is a popular material for inlays, onlays, crowns, fillings, and it is used for implants and dentures. There is a good reason why this material is used for the last two, the translucent nature is able to replicate the look of teeth nearly perfectly and it is incredibly durable and will last quite a long time. You can expect up to 20 years or more of usage with porcelain inlays and onlays.

Composite Resin

When it comes to popularity, composite resin can’t be beaten. This is a good all-rounder when it comes to aesthetics, durability, and cost. While they don’t replicate teeth quite as well as porcelain, it is convincing enough and it has an expected lifespan of about 10 years or more.


Generally the lowest cost material for fillings, inlays, and onlays, amalgam is a metal material that is popular to use for teeth further back in the mouth. Like most metals, amalgam is durable and it is expected you can get up to 15 years of usage before replacing them.


Well regarded with dental crowns - gold can also be used for inlays/onlays. It is one of the most durable and long-lasting materials you can get and it is yet another popular option for rear teeth. But because of the status of gold in general, some patients are not afraid to let it be seen and choose to have it placed in teeth that are more visible.

Contact Us

If you would like to book an appointment with us or have questions for us at Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness, you can call our office using this number 704-629-8081. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
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Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness, 2315 W. Arbors Dr. Suite 105, Charlotte, NC 28262-2639; 704-629-8081;; 10/14/2021; Related Phrases: dentist Charlotte NC; dentist Charlotte NC;