Difference Between Dental Inlays And Filling

by | Dec 13, 2022 | Dental Health, General Dentistry

Going to the dentist for a cavity can be daunting, but there’s no need to worry! If you have a cavity, chances are your dentist will recommend either a dental inlay or a filling. But how these two treatments are different? Let’s take a closer look at what separates dental inlays and fillings. 

What Is A Filling? 

A filling is one of the most common dental procedures to restore teeth after they become decayed due to cavities. Dentists prepare fillings from amalgam (a mixture of metals, resin, or composite). The process involves removing decayed portions of the tooth, then using composite materials to fill in the gap left by the decay, which will help protect the affected tooth from further damage and restore its strength and function. 

What Is An Inlay? 

An inlay is similar to filling but involves placing an artificial material directly into the tooth. Porcelain or gold is solid and durable enough to withstand wear and tear. Unlike fillings, they require two visits and cost more than traditional fillings. 

How Do Fillings Compare to Inlays? 

Inlays and fillings are highly dissimilar, even though both cure tooth decay. These two kinds of dental restorations differ primarily in the following ways.

1. Administered Differently

A dental filling is a direct restoration placed on the damaged tooth. It has a putty-like composition and becomes more complicated when in contact with saliva, air, or curing light. Silver amalgam fillings are the most typical type of fillings used in dentistry; however, because composite bonding has better aesthetics, it is becoming a more popular option.

An inlay works as an indirect treatment in a dental lab. The dentist will take an impression of the tooth after removing decayed material and sending it to a lab. The dentist gets the restoration in about two weeks and will attach the inlay to the patient’s tooth during a subsequent session.

2. Fillings Have A Higher Chances Of Weakening Teeth

Extreme temperatures can cause fillings to expand and cause damage to a person’s teeth. It is one of the explanations why dentists frequently advise alternative restorations for huge cavities. The fragile tissues inside the pulp chamber may split due to a filling expanding, making them vulnerable to oral bacteria.

3. They Address Various Decay Types

Fillings fix small holes in teeth caused by tooth decay. Fillings can fill small holes in teeth, but the tooth’s structure remains unstable. When a patient has decay on the biting surfaces of their teeth, the dentist may recommend an inlay.

4. Inlays Support Teeth

Because inlays are explicitly made for the patient’s teeth, they perfectly fill the gap. After the treatment of the tooth, it strengthens, and its functionality returns. Manufacturation of Inlays can be done with more robust materials since their preparation in a dental lab, such as porcelain, is more resilient than most filling materials.

How Do I Know Which One Is Right For Me? 

It’s important to remember that both options effectively restore teeth that cavities have damaged. Your dentist can help determine which option would provide you with better long-term results based on your unique situation.  

Dental fillings and inlays offer practical solutions for restoring teeth damaged by cavities or decay. While both involve using artificial materials to fill gaps left behind by decline, some critical differences between the two procedures should is taken into consideration when deciding which would best suit your needs. Ultimately the dentist will advise you on which option would provide you with better long-term results. The advice depends on factors such as the size of the cavity, location of the tooth, type of material used for restoration, etc. With proper care and maintenance following either procedure, you can keep your smile healthy for years to come!