Inlays and Onlays in Bolingbrook, IL

Inlays and Onlays in Bolingbrook, IL

Inlays and onlays are methods of tooth repair. When a tooth suffers from damage, we try to preserve it rather than replacing it completely. Inlays, onlays, fillings, and crowns are the most commonly used ways of repairing teeth. All 4 involve the replacement of a damaged area with artificial materials like composite, metals, or ceramic.

We’ve noticed that people commonly confuse inlays with fillings here at Sonrisa Dental + Orthodontics of Bolingbrook in Bolingbrook, IL. It’s important to us that our clients know what types of procedures they’re getting, so let’s go through the differences between them.


An inlay is used when the damage to a tooth is too great that a filling can’t repair it. When a person has decay in one of their teeth, we must first clear out the damaged tissue and clean the tooth before applying any artificial materials to it.

Now that there’s an empty cavity, fillings and inlays can be used to fill it. Inlays are used by us at Sonrisa Dental + Orthodontics of Bolingbrook when the cavity is too big. Why? The reason is that inlays are tougher, don’t contract, and provide more structural support to teeth.

An inlay is made of a single solid piece of ceramic or gold. The piece should match the dimensions of the cavity with precision so that food and bacteria don’t get into the empty spaces.

To put in an inlay, we’ll probably need you to come in for two visits. Inlays are made in labs, not in the office. During the first visit, we’ll get the measurements and send them to the lab so we can apply it to your tooth on the second visit.


We use fillings for smaller cavities. Fillings are commonly made of composite or amalgam. What’s so great about fillings is that they’re cheaper and can be completed in a single visit. We don’t need to send anything to the lab as it’s all done in-office.

Both fillings and inlays should last over 10 years with some variability depending on the materials used. How well you take care of your teeth will also play a role.

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