San Ramon Cosmetic Dentistry Blog | Sean Michael Anderson, D.D.S.

San Ramon, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek and Dublin, CA

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inlays and Onlays: What’s the Difference?

Inlays and onlays are modern solutions to traditional metal fillings. They are bonded to the teeth with dental resin, making them a permanent part of the tooth. Metal fillings require a large portion of healthy tooth tissue to be removed in order to be packed into the filling, but inlays and onlays cover, rather than pack the filling, making them less invasive while removing the potential for their falling out.

Metal fillings react to temperature differences in your mouth – hot and cold liquids and foods can cause them to expand and contract. The result can be disastrous when the filling falls out, sometimes taking part of the tooth with it.


Inlays are smaller than onlays due their placement. Inlay refers to a filling within the grooves of you teeth, between the contours. This area of your teeth is referred to as the “cusp.” If the damage does not extend beyond the cusp, an inlay will be used.


Onlays are also used to fill in the grooves of your teeth, but wrap over the cusp. This additional coverage allows them to protect the chewing surface of your tooth as well as the cusp, and is used when the decay has spread beyond the cusp area of your tooth. Onlays are necessarily larger because they cover a greater portion of your tooth.

Both inlays and onlays are preferable to metal fillings because they offer more secure and aesthetically pleasing results. Porcelain fillings match more closely the natural color and shape of your teeth. Additionally, porcelain is stain resistant, allowing your teeth to maintain their whiteness for a longer period of time while preventing further decay within the tooth.

If you live in San Ramon, Danville, or Livermore, California, please contact experienced cosmetic dentist Dr. Sean Anderson for a checkup and cleaning to determine if you require fillings. Dr. Anderson is able to serve all of your dental needs, including inlays and onlays.

posted by Tiffany at 3:05 PM


Sean Michael Anderson, D.D.S
Neuromuscular & Aesthetic Cosmetic Dentistry

1501 Bollinger Canyon Road Suite G
San Ramon, CA 94583

Disclaimer: San Ramon, CA cosmetic dentist Dr. Sean Anderson's website only provides information on cosmetic dentistry, neuromuscular dentistry, and family dentistry in Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton , Walnut Creek
and the San Ramon area south of San Francisco. This information is not to be taken as medical advice.
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