Dental Tips Blog


Have You Tried the Dental Filling-Crown Hybrid, Yet?

Posted in Fillings

When you get a cavity, your options usually include either a filling or a crown.

Did you know that you could get the best of both worlds?

There are dental filling- crown hybrids that many dentists use to restore and enhance teeth. They’re called inlays and onlays.

How Do Inlays and Onlays Work?

Inlays and onlays are called indirect restorations as opposed to direct restorations.

Direct restorations are fillings, which are packed directly into your tooth in one sitting. But an indirect restoration is based on a mold taken of your prepared tooth. The restoration is carved from a material (usually tooth-colored porcelain) and then that piece is cemented into your tooth at a later date.

This process is very similar to that of placing dental crowns. The only difference is that crowns cover the entire tooth while inlays and onlays replace a part of it.

So, inlays and onlays are strong like dental crowns but more conservative like fillings. This makes them the perfect hybrid for repairing teeth that need more support than a filling can give.

The hybrid restorations are called inlays when they replace a part of the “valley” in a molar. They become onlays when they have to replace part of a cusp or edge on a tooth.

Does Your Tooth Qualify for an Inlay or Onlay?

If you have a cavity that needs treatment, then an inlay is a great option. Some patients opt for an inlay even when their tooth doesn’t have much damage simply because they want a stronger and more lasting treatment.

Ask a restorative dentist about inlays and onlays the next time they recommend a filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767


What’s Different About Indirect Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

When you get a cavity, it needs to be repaired before spreading deeper into the tooth. A filling is the most common way to restore lost tooth structure, protect a tooth against sensitivity, and prevent more damage.

There are two main kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Do you know the difference?

Classic Direct Fillings

The traditional method involves cleaning out decay and removing any damaged parts of a tooth, then rebuilding it by molding a semi-liquid material into the tooth. The material is placed directly into the prepared surface, where it quickly hardens.

How Are Indirect Fillings Placed?

A tooth is prepared similar to when you get a regular filling, but then instead of putting the material right in, the dentist takes a mold of the tooth. A model goes off to a lab and the restoration is made there. Meanwhile, you get a temporary filling and go home. When you return at a later appointment, the dentist bonds the finished restoration in place.

Indirect fillings are also different in that they’re designed to cover a larger area of tooth structure. An inlay is an indirect filling that replaces tooth material between cusps while onlays are more extensive and replace some of the chewing edges of teeth. Onlays are also considered partial crowns.

Why Get an Indirect Filling?

If you try to put a lot of restorative material inside of a tooth, it will get weak. An indirect filling is structurally better for teeth with extensive damage. These restorations are the midway option when a filling is insufficient, but the tooth doesn’t quite need a crown.

To determine which kind of restoration is right for your tooth, contact a dentist in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725


3 Reasons to Get an Inlay or Onlay

Posted in Crowns

Unlike a dental filling, an inlay is a single restoration designed outside the mouth and placed into a prepared tooth, similar to a crown (only smaller.) If the tooth needing repair has a damaged cusp, then the restoration becomes an onlay, wrapping over part of the tooth.

Why might you need an inlay or onlay?

  1. Enhance the Strength and Beauty of a Patched-up Tooth

If you have a tooth that’s been filled time and again, then it may be weak and discolored. Old fillings pick up stain at the edges and darken with time. Your dentist may be able to place a smooth, continuous, and tooth-colored onlay to give your tooth a facelift.

  1. When a Filling Isn’t Enough

You may need an entire onlay or inlay right from the start to repair a tooth with severe damage. Some fillings or fractures may be too large for a filling. Big fillings are prone to breaking on weak or compromised teeth.

  1. When a Dental Crown Would be too Much

On the other hand, the damage may not merit the full coverage of a dental cap. Onlays and inlays are much more conservative, leaving more of your natural tooth in-tact.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

These indirect restorations match teeth in terms of color and flexibility. Onlays and inlays are most commonly made from porcelain or composite resin, helping them blend in seamlessly.

An inlay or onlay is easy to keep clean and maintains a tight seal with your tooth to prevent bacteria from getting in. These restorations are also conservative while retaining strength, making them a great choice for repairing molars.

Contact your dentist for a consultation to learn more about inlays and onlays.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767


Inlays, Onlays, Overlays – What’s the Difference?

Posted in Fillings

What do inlays, overlays, and onlays have in common? They are all called “indirect fillings.”

They’re designed outside the mouth and then cemented into a prepared tooth like a piece in a puzzle. Virtually the only difference between all these fillings has to do with their size.


Inlays are the smallest, covering the least amount of tooth surface. They usually restore damage on the inner part of a chewing surface. Picture the valleys or grooves on the top of your molars. That’s where an inlay would fit into.


One step above inlays, onlays anchor onto one of the cusps or pointy parts of a tooth for more stability. If one of those sharp “mountains” on your teeth gets damaged, an onlay would do the job of repairing it.


Overlays are also referred to as partial crowns. They’re far more conservative than crowns, however. An overlay covers the entire top part of the tooth, but it doesn’t replace the entire outer layer of enamel as crowns do. These restorations offer the most strength and protection just short of a full crown.


Sometimes a dentist might decide to anchor an indirect filling with the support of a pin that’s fastened directly into the tooth.

Indirect fillings can be made of ceramic, porcelain, or gold and often require two visits to place. Some ceramic fillings can be made on-site in a single appointment if the office has that technology.

With the goal of being conservative yet strong, indirect fillings can help you retain more of your tooth for a long time. Ask your dentist for more information on the restorations available in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050


What’s An Indirect Filling?

Posted in Fillings

To understand the concept of an indirect filling, let’s first think about what a classic direct filling is.

A metal or white composite material is packed into a hollow spot in a tooth. After it sets, it protects the tooth from fracture and further decay.

So an indirect filling is a restoration that is not directly applied to the tooth.

How does that work?

Creating a Puzzle Piece Outside the Mouth

Your tooth will be prepared much like it would for any other filling. All the dead and damaged and infected tooth material is cleaned out. Next, an impression or scan is taken of the prepared site. And don’t worry – all of this happens while your tooth is nice and numb!

The scan or impression is used to design a complete and solid restoration. The finished restoration is then cemented into the prepared place.

Why Choose an Indirect Filling?

Indirect fillings are commonly called inlays or onlays. These restorations are usually made from a tooth colored filling. So no worries about any metal showing in your smile!

A filling that’s designed in one solid piece outside the mouth is less likely to fracture like a regular filling can.

Indirect fillings are great for when there is too little tooth structure left to hold a regular filling but neither do you need a full crown. It’s an excellent middle ground!

Of course, which restoration is right for you is best determined by your dentist after an examination. But it’s nice to know that you’ve got a few options to work with! Contact your dentist to learn more about the restorative options available in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050


Inlays and Onlays – Super Fillings!

Posted in Fillings

It often happens that a tooth is too far damaged for a filling to fix it.

Decay or large fractures can cause your tooth to continue breaking apart, so that there isn’t enough structure left to repair it. A filling might be just a temporary patch-job. In this situation, a crown is needed to provide the most support and protection.

What if there was such a thing as a restoration between the two. That is, a combination dental crown and filling.

Guess what? There is!

Puzzle Pieces

Onlays and inlays can best be described as puzzle pieces. Like crowns, they are solid restorations that protect a lot of tooth surface. But onlays and inlays cover only part of a tooth.

Crowns fit over an entire tooth. Inlays are designed to snugly fit only within the grooves of the chewing surface. An onlay may overlap one or more of the biting edges. These restorations are perfectly crafted to fit together with your tooth like a piece into a puzzle.

How They’re Made

The damaged portion of your tooth is removed (with the help of anesthesia, of course!) and prepared. Instead of packing in a filling, a scan and/or impression is taken of the prepared tooth. The model is used to design a single solid restoration. This restoration is made outside of the mouth and then cemented into the tooth. A perfect custom-shaped puzzle piece!

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

These restorations are not likely to fracture as oversized fillings could. They hold up to biting and chewing forces much more efficiently. They can even be made from materials that exactly match the color of your tooth.

Talk with your dentist to find out which restorative options are available in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Seven Hills Dentistry
1305 Cedarcrest Rd. #115
Dallas, GA 30132
(678) 257-7177


The Filling-Crown Hybrid

Posted in Crowns

What are stronger than fillings but smaller than crowns?

Onlays and inlays!

Loosely classified as a combination between fillings and crowns, an onlay or inlay is often the ideal restorative choice. Just what are these restorations and how are they placed?

Puzzle Pieces

Onlays and inlays are restorations that are created outside of the mouth. After the fractured or decayed part of your tooth is removed, records of the prepared tooth are taken to design the restoration from. Then, it is cemented into the tooth just like a piece in a puzzle. Each restoration is created to custom-fit a specific tooth.

What do they look like?

The restoration can resemble the rest of your natural tooth, if it is made from a material such as ceramic. No one has to know it’s there! The piece will be designed to replace a portion of your tooth’s outer layer. Each restoration is designed to line up exactly with your tooth’s original shape. This means that it will reflect the same pattern of cusps and valleys on the tooth’s chewing surface.

What is the difference between onlays and inlays?

Inlays are placed where only a part of the “valley” of the chewing surface needs to be replaced.

Onlays are designed to cover the edge or cusps, or “mountains,” on the tooth in addition to the grooved spots.

Benefits of Onlays and Inlays

Inlays and onlays:

  • Are stronger than large fillings
  • Are more conservative than crowns
  • Give your tooth strength to bite and chew

Ask your dentist about restorative options available in your area. Your next dental restoration could be a beautiful new inlay or onlay!

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767


Inlays and Onlays: When and Why Dentists Use Them

Posted in Fillings

Have you had a piece of your tooth break off?  If so, how would your dentist restore your tooth?  You might think your dentist will use a crown or a filling – but there could be another option.

There are times when your tooth has too much damage to be restored with a filling but not enough damage to need a full crown. In those cases, dental inlays or onlays can be used to restore your tooth.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are similar restorations.  The main difference is they restore different areas of your tooth that are larger than a filling would, but less than a crown.  The areas between the cusps or round edges are filled with an inlay.  Onlays cover one or more cusps on the biting surface of the tooth.  At times, onlays can cover the entire biting surface of the tooth.  In these cases, they are sometimes called a “partial crown” or “three-quarter crown.”  This is because an onlay can cover much of the tooth surface, making it similar to a crown.  Like crowns, onlays and inlays can be made out of gold or tooth colored porcelain.

The great thing about inlays and onlays is that your dentist doesn’t have to remove as much tooth structure to restore them.  If you had a crown placed, your dentist would need to adjust more tooth structure to cover the entire visible surfaces of your tooth.  This is not necessary when inlays or onlays are an option.

Do you have a broken tooth that needs to be restored?  Consider dental inlays or onlays!  Visit your dentist and ask if an inlay or an onlay is the right option.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979


Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays

Posted in Crowns

Have you ever heard of a dental inlay or onlay? Maybe even a “three-quarter crown?” If you haven’t – then we want you to know what dental inlays and onlays can to for you, and what makes them different than other types of treatment.

Inlays and Onlays Protect More than Just a Filling

Large cavities and fractures may be impossible to fix with a filling. If the filling takes up the bulk of the tooth, it won’t be able to withstand normal biting and chewing pressure. Something with more stability is needed, but what if a crown isn’t quite necessary? In this case, an inlay/onlay offers quality protection and minimal trauma on the tooth. 

They Omit the Need for a Crown in Some Cases

If a tooth has an adequate amount of structure that would need to be ground down for a crown, it may be better to consider an inlay/onlay. Inlays and onlays maximize the existing healthy enamel by eliminating the need to further prep the tooth. This helps the tooth have a longer lifespan and less-invasive treatment over time. 

Each One is Custom Designed

Just like a full coverage crown, inlays and onlays are made by hand in a dental lab. This provides you with the perfect fit that you expect. Custom designed restorations feel more comfortable, look more aesthetic and require fewer adjustments. They can be made of porcelain or gold, depending on the location of the tooth (and your preferences.) Both materials have different advantages in regard to the tooth being treated.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554


Porcelain Onlays and Inlays

Posted in Crowns

You may have heard the terms “onlays” and “inlays” mentioned among other restorative dental treatments. What are onlays and inlays? How can they keep your teeth healthy and strong?

Puzzle Pieces

Sometimes referred to as a combination of a crown and a filling, inlays and onlays fit into teeth like a custom-made puzzle piece. A fracture or decay in a tooth can end up being too extensive for the tooth to retain a simple filling. But if the damage is not too deep, then a crown may not be necessary.

An inlay or onlay would be the link that provides a middle-ground solution.

Inlays are called such because they would replace areas of the tooth that make up the “valley” or grooves of the tooth. Onlays serve the same purpose, but will also cover one or more of the “mountains,” or raised cusps of the tooth.

How They Are Made

Utilizing a photo of the prepared tooth and its neighbors, computer-assisted design technology is used to precisely measure the dimensions of your tooth. Then, a strong piece of porcelain is milled to fit the tooth’s dimensions exactly. This piece is cemented in, and the entire process can be completed in a single visit, in many offices.

The Benefits

Without removing as much tooth structure as a crown would, inays and onlays provide a virtually-seamless fit and more strength than a filling, alone. Porcelain inlays and onlays preserve the natural color and structure of a tooth.

Make an appointment to have a complete assessment of your dental needs. If some of your teeth need restoring, ask your dentist about porcelain inlay and onlay options.

Posted on behalf of:
Carolina Comfort Dental
5511 Raeford Rd #255
Fayetteville, NC 28304
(910) 485-0023

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