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For the times when a simple filling is not enough, dental inlays and onlays can cover and protect your damaged teeth. Cavities are a big concern to any dentist and Putney Dental Care is more than aware of the need for long-lasting restorative treatment.

That is why our Putney clinic offers dental inlay and onlay services suited for any cavity, no matter how severe the damage. Find your smile again with our team of dental specialists today!

What is a Dental Inlay or Dental Onlay?

Unlike dental crowns, a dental inlay and onlay do not cover the entirety of a tooth. Rather, they are applied in small areas where decayed teeth need them most. The difference between an inlay and an onlay is what area of the tooth they cover.

A dental inlay is applied to the centre of a tooth, moulded around the grooves of your tooth, while a dental onlay covers larger cavities that spread across the cusps of the tooth. These partial crowns are a more conservative restorative solution than a dental crown, which usually makes them more affordable.

What’s the Difference Between an Inlay and Onlay?

Deciding between dental inlays and onlays entirely depends on where the affected area is located.

For tooth decay focused solely in the centre of the tooth, an inlay is a better option than an onlay. However, the alternative is true when it comes to the points of teeth; an onlay is much better for restoring the biting surface of a tooth.

Dental Inlay and Onlay Materials

Dental inlays and onlays can be made from multiple different materials, usage often differentiated by aesthetic choices, strength or stain resistance. You can discuss your options with your dentist and see which material suits your smile best.


Gold is both stain-resistant and easy to mould to the tooth structure. However, the distinct colouration makes it stand out against natural teeth. That is why many choose to use gold only for molar teeth dental restorations.

Ceramic (Porcelain)

Ceramic inlays and onlays, also known as porcelain inlays and onlays, restore the full function of your teeth while also mimicking the colour of your natural teeth. They are not only stain-resistant and incredibly durable, but ceramic inlays are also less likely to fracture than traditional fillings.

Composite Resin

While also capable of matching the colour of your natural teeth, composite resin inlays and onlays are not as commonly used nowadays for several reasons. While stronger than traditional fillings, composite material is weaker than gold and porcelain alike. It is also not stain-resistant, making it more likely to be used for short-term installation.

Dental Inlay and Onlay Procedure

The dental procedure for both dental onlays and inlays alike is similar, with the only differences lying in where the durable filling materials are to be placed.

1. Old Filling or Cavity is Removed (if necessary)

A removal step is needed for those who have previously had a filling in place and it has been damaged, or there is tooth decay. The existing filling or cavity is removed, leaving a hole for the inlay or onlay to be placed into.

The hole will then be further shaped for easier placement of an inlay or onlay, preparing you for the next step.

2. Inlay/Onlay Mould

Either after the filling and/or cavity has been removed, or during your first appointment, a mould is to be taken of your tooth structure. This will provide the basis of whether you need an inlay or onlay and the shape the filling itself needs to be.

The restoration shade is also chosen during this first appointment for those choosing ceramic as their filling material.

3. Temporary Filling

Since the permanent inlay or onlay will take some time to prepare, a temporary filling seals the cavity until installation. This prevents further decay and protects your tooth from thermal stimulation, which is the sensitivity caused by cold and hot liquids.

4. Final Placement

Once the permanent filling is ready, your dentist will call you in to place your inlay or onlay. Your dentist may or may not use a local anaesthetic to reduce any discomfort or pain while the temporary filling is removed and replaced with the inlay or onlay.

After the dentist cements your tooth’s permanent filling, you can go about your usual eating habits once again. Although, your dentist will warn you away from sticky foods, as excessive amounts may weaken the structure of the filling over time.

Dental Inlay and Onlay Services in Sydney

An aesthetically pleasing smile requires healthy teeth, and that means treating any cavity that comes your way. Putney Dental Care provides dental inlays and onlays across multiple clinics, including the Putney, Ryde, Meadowbank, Gladesville and Tennyson Point areas.

Although regular fillings can temporarily fix your smile, inlays and onlays are forever. Book your first consultation with our dental specialists today, contact us online or at (02) 9808 2588 to learn more about your dental inlay and onlay options.


Can an Inlay or Onlay Fall Off?

A dental inlay or onlay will rarely fall off, but it is not impossible. A loose dental onlay or inlay will occur due to excessive or improper flossing and eating too many sticky foods. If this does happen, a dental appointment must immediately be scheduled.

In the case that your dental inlay or onlay is just loose, it will be bonded once more. However, if it has fallen off completely, an assessment will be made to ensure there are no damages before reattachment commences.

How Long Do an Inlay and Onlay Last?

If you follow all of the rules laid out by your dentist, including avoidance of sticky foods and maintaining good oral hygiene, your dental inlay or onlay should easily last up to 10 years. The exact time depends on your care, how well the attachment bonds to your teeth, as well as the quality of the filling material used.

Are an Inlay and Onlay the Same as a Filling?

Although both serve the same function of dental restoration, inlays and onlays are different from fillings for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • The size of the cavity being removed, which is usually smaller for fillings
  • The required procedure time as larger fillings require longer appointments
  • The type of dental materials used
  • The area of the tooth that each treatment method fills or covers

Any of these dental restoration options can address tooth decay, but fillings are usually restricted to smaller, basic cavity issues. They may also require regular upkeep or replacements, which differs from the long-lasting durability of dental onlays and inlays.

General Dentist in Putney


P. (02) 9808 2588

A. Suite 5, 227 Morrison Rd, Putney, NSW 2112
(Next Door To Royal Rehab)

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Reserved Parking Available At Rear.

Opening Hours

Monday – 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Tuesday – 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Wednesday – 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Thursday – 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Friday – 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Saturday – 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Emergency Appointments Available

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