Fillings, whether amalgam or composite resin, are a common solution for cavities. They are highly effective and can be completed in a single visit. However, the size of your cavity, or its location, can make a filling an impractical option, causing more harm than good. At National Dental Oakland Gardens, we can restore the health of your teeth with inlays and onlays.


Cavities happen as a result of tooth decay, which is caused by oral bacteria. Oral bacteria are a natural occurrence in your mouth. They are easily controlled with regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits. However, when you ignore any part of your oral hygiene regimen, oral bacteria can be left to multiply unchecked. They feed on lingering food particles in your mouth. As they eat, they produce acids that eat away at your enamel. Eventually, small pits and cavities form. Bacteria then take shelter inside the cavities, continuing their destruction. The longer cavities go untreated, the larger they become, putting your teeth at risk for serious infection.


Amalgam and composite resin fillings are a rather common solution to cavities, but they are not always the best answer. Inlays and onlays are designed for cavities that occur on the chewing surfaces of your molars. An inlay is used when a single cusp is effected. Onlays, on the other hand, are known as partial crowns and used in situations where multiple cusps are affected. They are designed to rebuild the structure of your tooth. Both inlays and onlays are used when a filling could only compromise your tooth further, such as putting it at risk for splitting or shattering. They can be made out of composite resin or out of porcelain, both materials match the natural color of your teeth.


The process for inlays and onlays starts like you are getting a regular amalgam or composite resin filling. We first administer a local anesthetic. We then drill the decay out of the cavity, with the help of our electric handpiece. Next, we take an impression of your mouth, which is sent to our lab. There, your inlay or onlay is designed and then fabricated to the exact specifications of the cavity. It can take a couple of weeks for your restoration to be made, so you will be provided with a temporary one in the meantime to protect your tooth from infection. Once it is ready, it is cemented into place.


Inlays and onlays have many benefits:

  • They match the color of your natural teeth.
  • Porcelain and composite resin are metal free (and they do not contain mercury).
  • Inlays and onlays do not shrink in your mouth (like regular fillings do upon curing).
  • Both inlays and onlays strengthen your affected tooth, instead of putting it at risk of splitting or shattering.
  • When preparing your teeth for fillings, some enamel needs to be removed. Amalgam requires the most enamel removal. Composite resin, because of the material bonds with the tooth, requires less. Inlays and onlays require the least amount of enamel removal.
  • They are more affordable and less involved, than dental crowns.

If you have a cavity, but a filling is not a practical solution, an inlay or onlay may be an option. Contact National Dental Oakland Gardens today at (718) 407-0574 to schedule your consultation.