Category: Inlays and Onlays

What Is the Difference between Inlays, Onlays and Fillings?

Tooth decay is a common problem and it is important to fill cavities and to protect the tooth against any further infection and loss of structure. Here at Downham Market Dental Care, our dentists are likely to suggest you have a filling or an inlay or onlay. So what is the difference between these options and when are they used?


Fillings are used to fill small to medium sized cavities in teeth where most of the tooth structure is still intact. They can be made from a variety of different materials. An NHS dentist in Downham Market will use silver coloured amalgam fillings to mend back teeth, while front teeth will be mended using strong, tooth coloured composite resins to create a cosmetically pleasing effect. Composite resin fillings are considered to be a cosmetic dental treatment which is why they aren’t generally used to mend back teeth under the NHS. Amalgam is hard wearing and is a very effective way of filling back teeth but it isn’t the prettiest material.

We use the most advanced composite resins to provide hard wearing and long-lasting results and they can look amazing. Often our dentists will use several different colours to ensure you get an exact match and that your new filling will blend in beautifully with the rest of your teeth. You will find our Downham Market dentist can provide you with both options and even if you are receiving NHS treatment then you can still opt to pay the extra to have your back teeth filled with more cosmetically pleasing composite resin.

Inlays and Onlays

An inlay or onlay is used to repair a large cavity in a back tooth. It’s what’s known as an indirect filling which means it has to be made in a dental laboratory to custom fit your tooth. You may require an inlay or onlay if you have a badly decayed back tooth and where a filling wouldn’t be strong enough to restore all its structure but where the damage isn’t enough for you to require a crown that would completely cover up the tooth. An inlay is slightly smaller than an onlay and is only designed to repair the very central part of the chewing surface of your back tooth. An onlay will repair this surface plus one or more of the tooth cusps so it can be quite large and is sometimes called a three-quarter crown as it will cover up a substantial amount of your tooth but some of its natural structure will still be visible.

Your inlay or onlay can be made from either porcelain or gold alloy. We might suggest you have a gold inlay or onlay if our dentist in Downham Market thinks you have a particularly heavy bite. This is because gold is quite soft and it will not damage your opposing teeth when you bite or chew. If your inlay or onlay is to be made from porcelain then you can look forward to having a restoration that is virtually invisible.

If you do have fillings that are coming to the end of their natural life or if you just want to talk to us about perhaps replacing amalgam fillings with something more cosmetically pleasing, then why not give us a call on 01366 382265. You can also find more information about inlays, onlays and fillings on our website at

What Is the Difference between Fillings, Inlays and Onlays?

Tooth decay is a common problem and we usually treat affected teeth by filling them. If you have recently visited your dentist in Basildon and have discovered you have tooth decay then they may have talked about fillings or an inlay or onlay, so what is the difference between each of these and when are they required?

inlays-onlaysDental Fillings

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a filling. This is used to repair small to medium sized cavities in teeth and although in the past it was common to use silver coloured amalgam fillings, these days we are far more likely to suggest you have a white or tooth coloured filling. This is made from a strong composite resin material that comes in many different shades and translucencies. Using this filling material, our Basildon dentist can closely match the natural colour of your tooth so your new filling will be virtually invisible. This material also bonds very strongly to your natural tooth, creating a tight seal that prevents bacteria from entering your tooth and it is a far more biocompatible material compared to amalgam. Composite fillings are hard wearing and should last for several years before they need replacing.

Inlays & Onlays

Inlays and onlays are suitable for larger cavities in your back teeth, or your premolars and molars. The chewing surfaces of these teeth often develop decay as they contain some quite deep grooves and fissures that can be difficult to keep thoroughly clean from food debris and bacteria. An inlay can repair the very central part of a back tooth. An onlay is slightly larger than an inlay, repairing not only the central chewing surface but also one or more of the cusps or raised points on the tooth. An inlay or onlay is made from porcelain or gold so it is stronger and harder wearing than composite resin. Using this material will restore strength and structure to the tooth so you can chew food without fear of the tooth fracturing. We may suggest using a gold inlay or onlay if you have a particularly heavy bite as gold is quite soft and will be kinder to your opposing teeth as it will not damage the tooth enamel. A gold inlay or onlay is made in our dental laboratory using a detailed impression of your tooth that will be taken once it has been prepared by our dentist in Basildon.

However our porcelain inlays and onlays are quite beautiful and we can often make them while you wait using the very latest CAD/CAM technology as our practice has a CEREC machine. This is an on-site milling machine that can precision-make your new restoration while you wait. Once it is milled it is hand finished and can be permanently cemented in place so there is no need for you to have a temporary filling. The procedure to make a CEREC inlay or onlay is also a little different because we will not need to take an impression of your tooth as instead it is scanned using a tiny infrared camera.

Whichever type of filling you require, you can be sure it is made from the most advanced materials to give you long-lasting results. If you know you need a new filling or simply require a check-up, please contact FelmoresDental Care to book your appointment on 01268 726789.

What Is the Difference between Fillings, Inlays and Onlays?

You are probably familiar with the idea of having a filling as many people have at least one, but you might not be aware of other types of fillings and when we may need to use them. As well as ordinary fillings, we can also provide you with an inlay or onlay. So what is the difference between all these options and when are they likely to be used?


inlays and onlaysFillings are great for repairing small to medium sized cavities and as well as silver coloured amalgam fillings, these days we can provide you with hard wearing tooth coloured composite resin fillings that will mend your teeth just about invisibly. This is because of the introduction of newer and stronger materials that are suitable for repairing even back teeth that come under a lot of wear and tear during chewing. There are several advantages in choosing a composite resin filling as our dentist in Watton will only need to do minimal preparation to the tooth, removing only the damaged portion before placing the filling. With an amalgam filling it is necessary to remove a greater amount of tooth structure. Additionally composite resin bonds extremely well to the natural tooth structure and will create a nice tight seal to keep out bacteria. The procedure to place a composite resin filling is more technique sensitive but the results can look wonderful.


Inlays are used to repair the large chewing surface of a back tooth and to mend larger cavities where a conventional filling wouldn’t be strong enough. These chewing surfaces can often develop cavities as they do contain quite deep fissures that can easily trap plaque and food. With an inlay, our dentist in Watton will need to carefully prepare the tooth before taking a detailed impression that will be sent to our dental laboratory so your inlay can be handcrafted from either porcelain or gold. As an alternative, we may be able to make a porcelain inlay while you wait using the very most advanced CAD/CAM technology. This procedure is a little different as your tooth will be scanned and the information used to design your new inlay. The design is then sent to our on-site CEREC milling machine and your new inlay will be milled from a solid block of porcelain that will be in a shade closely matching your natural tooth. These restorations can look amazing and eliminate the need for a temporary filling while your inlay is being made.


An onlay is similar to an inlay, just a little larger. It can repair a cavity right in the central part of the chewing surface as well as one or more of the tooth cusps. These are the raised points on the tooth. Your onlay can be made in exactly the same way as an inlay, either in our dental laboratory or on-site with our milling machine.

Regardless of whether you have a filling or an inlay or onlay, your tooth will be restored to its full strength and structure so you can bite and chew without fear of your tooth crumbling away.

If you have tooth decay or suspect you might need a filling renewed then please contact Clarence House Dental Care to book an appointment with our dentist. Just give us a call on 01953 882777.

Using Tooth Coloured Fillings to Restore Your Smile

Why Teeth Need Fillings

Teeth can become damaged due to decay or trauma. When a tooth loses some of its structure then it is important to get it repaired by your dentist in Watton. Repairing a tooth will ensure any infection is removed and will replace the tooth structure that has been lost. Repairing a tooth helps to restore strength to the tooth, so it will probably look a lot nicer, but a filling will also prevent the tooth from becoming infected by ensuring it is completely sealed up so bacteria cannot enter. Tooth coloured fillings are a great way to help ensure your natural teeth last for as long as possible.

Why Choose Tooth Coloured or White Fillings?

dentist in WattonIn the past tooth coloured fillings tended only to be used to repair front teeth, while larger cavities in back teeth were often filled using silver coloured amalgams. While amalgam is still quite widely used and it is a very hard wearing material, tooth coloured restorations have become increasingly popular. This is largely due to the introduction of newer materials that are strong enough to repair back teeth and which include composite resins.

Composite Resin

Composite resin is a type of plastic that is very strong and hard-wearing and is able to withstand quite large biting forces. This material is excellent for repairing teeth as it bonds to the natural tooth very strongly, sealing out bacteria. In addition, your dentist in Watton will only need to remove the tooth structure that is damaged, preserving the maximum amount of the healthy tooth underneath. Composite resin fillings can be placed in one appointment at Clarence House Dental Care as your dentist will choose the exact colour of composite to match your tooth, before preparing the tooth and placing the filling material, gradually hardening and shaping the material until the filling looks and feels natural. Often several different shades of filling material are used to create a beautiful restoration that is virtually invisible.

Porcelain Fillings (Inlays and Onlays)

If you have a large cavity in a back tooth, your dentist in Watton may suggest using a slightly different kind of filling called an inlay or onlay. These are made from porcelain and are stronger and longer lasting than composite resin, making them ideal for areas in your mouth that are subjected to lots of biting and chewing pressures. The procedure for making a porcelain filling is slightly different as this is an ‘indirect filling,’ meaning it has to be made in a dental laboratory so you will return at a later date to have it fitted and cemented in place. Although a little more expensive than composite resin fillings, porcelain inlays and onlays will last longer and will not change colour or stain.

IF you have silver coloured amalgams in your mouth that you’d prefer to get rid of why not book an appointment with our dentist in Watton? We will ensure the amalgam is removed and disposed of safely before repairing your tooth with the very latest and strongest tooth coloured filling materials. Call us today on 01953 882777 to find out how we can help you.

All You Need To Know About Inlays and Onlays

If a tooth is so decayed that a filling isn’t possible, but not at the point where a crown is considered necessary, then your dentist in Southend might suggest an inlay or onlay as the best option.

What exactly is an inlay or onlay?

Inlays and onlaysInlays and onlays are used in place of a filling to restore teeth that are badly decayed. They’re quite different to fillings in several ways

  • They’re extremely durable and last longer than a filling
  • They require less of the damaged tooth to be removed than with a traditional filling
  • They’re custom made in a laboratory just for you
  • Made from porcelain or composite resin which can be colour matched to your other teeth, they result in a seamless finish

How does an inlay differ from an onlay?

Inlays and onlays are used to restore back teeth and the difference relates to the amount of coverage and where they’re placed. An inlay, for example is used to restore damage to the biting surface within the cusp. (The cusp is the shaped structure on the top of back teeth which holds food for chewing). Onlays, on the other hand, are used to restore more excessive damage which may have extended beyond one or two cusps. For this reason, they’re also referred to a partial crowns.

How are they fitted?

The treatment normally requires just two visits to the dental clinic. The first visit will entail your Southend dentist removing all of the decay and old filling. Then an impression will be taken for sending to the dental laboratory and you’ll be fitted with a temporary filling. At your return visit, the dentist will remove your temporary filling and cement your inlay or onlay into place.

Inlays and onlays are the path way to a beautiful smile and can be used to restore cavities and maintain your natural smile. You can even ask your dentist to replace any silver fillings that you may have with inlays and onlays. If you’re looking to improve the aesthetics of your smile, then they’re a great option of cosmetic dentistry. In Southend at Southend Dental Care we’re always happy at the reaction we get from patients on seeing their inlay or onlay for the first time. It really does offer a smile makeover which will fill you with confidence. Why not call us today on 01702 465000 or contact us via our website at to book a consultation. Trust us to put the smile back on your face.