Types of Teeth Inlays and Onlays

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There are multiple types of teeth inlays. How should you choose the one that suits you best? Let’s see what types of teeth inlays there are.

But first, what are teeth inlays and onlays? They’re a type of dental filling that can be produced out of a variety of materials. The difference between an inlay and an onlay is that the first only covers the cusp of the tooth, while the latter covers an area between the cusps. They are also similar in price, but an inlay may be cheaper since less material is being used.

Most popular types of dental inlays and onlays include metal inlays and ceramic inlays. Metal inlays can be made of various materials, usually metal alloy. One type of inlays that was very popular in the last century is gold inlay. The other widespread type of inlays and onlays was silver-amalgam filling. It is an alloy of mercury, silver and tin. Even though it contains mercury, it is regarded as a safe type of dental inlays and onlays. Nowadays, however, people tend to opt for other materials, like zirconia. Zirconia onlays are popular because of their strength and longevity, and it’s also a material that rarely provokes allergic reactions. When it comes down to ceramic inlays, the most popular material is porcelain. Porcelain inlays and onlays look very natural and are usually a bit cheaper than metal inlays. They don't provoke any reactions in a human’s body and are quite durable, as well.

Let’s look at them in more detail. Gold inlays and onlays are composed of an alloy of gold, copper and other materials, so they’re not 100% made of gold. Using a gold inlay tooth has many advantages, the most important one is definitely its strength and durability. They can last up to 10 or 15 years and it easily resists chewing force, like any metal inlay. Many patients also find gold inlays more aesthetically pleasing. However, there are a few drawbacks, one of them is the price. Gold inlays and onlays are a lot more expensive than those produced out of other materials. They also require more than one visit to the dentist. Aesthetics of gold fillings is a subjective matter, but many people decide to go with other types of dental inlays because they don’t find gold ones very attractive.

Another type of inlays is zirconia inlay. Like other types of metal inlays, it is very strong and durable. They can survive for more than 5 years and can withstand a very strong impact Another great advantage of zirconia inlay or zirconia onlay is that they require just one visit to the dentist. One more benefit of them is that they’re biocompatible, which means that they are less likely to provoke an immune reaction or inflammation. The main disadvantage of zirconia onlays is their color. They don’t look natural at all, however, that might not be that big of an issue. Additional drawback is a potential damage of other teeth. Zirconia is a strong metal and it may cause other teeth to crumble. That is not so relevant to zirconia inlays since it’s a filling inside your tooth and it usually doesn’t touch other teeth, but it’s something you have to consider.

Let’s take an in-depth look at ceramic inlays and onlays. They’re the aesthetic alternative to metal inlays because they match the color of the tooth. They are custom made for each patient and, like any inlay teeth, are designed to protect your teeth from food, infections and inflammations. Ceramic might be seen by many as fragile material, but in reality, ceramic onlay can easily last for more than 5 years. In some cases, patients wear them for more than 20 years. That is, of course, if you go through regular dental check-ups. Porcelain inlays and onlays are the most common type of ceramic inlays. They are natural-looking, they are durable and add strength to your tooth while protecting it from inflammations and infiltrations.

As you might see, most of these dental inlays and onlays share similar benefits: durability, longevity, strength and protection. You have to consult with your dentist before going with any type of teeth inlay, but if you have to choose, it may come down to the price of these fillings. We already mentioned that gold onlay tooth would be the most expensive on the list. Even though it’s not all gold, the price is still quite high. But remember that gold onlay tooth would usually be a bit more durable and it most definitely won’t cause any negative reaction in your body. It also won’t deal any damage to other teeth when you’re chewing on something.

The price of zirconia onlay might be a little lower than that of a gold one. It shares similar advantages, but most of the time its color may differ from natural tones. It might not be an issue in areas where it is hard to notice, like the back of the mouth.

Ceramic inlays and onlays are becoming the most common type of inlay teeth. Most patients opt for them because they look natural and the price for them is quite affordable. Due to a very tight connection with the tooth, ceramic inlay prevents infiltrations and lasts for a long period of time.

We hope that this article was informative and helpful. Teeth might deteriorate and crumble even if we brush them regularly and stick to a healthy diet, so it is always good to know about different types of inlays.