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When it comes to dental restoration, understanding the differences between inlays and fillings is important for making informed decisions about your oral health. Both serve the purpose of restoring damaged teeth, but they differ in their materials, application process, and longevity. At Polished Dental Care, our restorative Grand Rapids, MI dentist, Dr. Elizabeth White, offers both inlays and dental fillings to completely restore your smile. 

To learn more about which option is best for you, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. White by calling 616) 698-6663.

What Are Inlays?

Inlays are custom-made dental restorations typically crafted from materials like porcelain, composite resin, or gold. They are designed to fit precisely within the cusps (raised points) of a tooth, replacing a portion of the tooth that has been damaged by decay or other factors. Inlays offer a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution for restoring teeth while preserving much of the natural tooth structure.

Benefits of Inlays

  • Longevity: Inlays are known for their durability and can last for many years with proper care.
  • Aesthetics: With materials like porcelain, inlays can be color-matched to blend seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.

Preservation of Tooth Structure: Inlays require less removal of healthy tooth structure compared to traditional fillings, making them a conservative option for tooth restoration.

What Are Fillings?

Dental fillings are a common treatment for repairing minor to moderate tooth decay or damage. They are typically made from materials like amalgam (a mixture of metals) or composite resin and are used to fill cavities or areas of decay within a tooth. Fillings are applied directly into the prepared cavity and are shaped to match the contours of the tooth.

Benefits of Fillings

  • Versatility: Fillings can be used to repair a wide range of tooth decay and damage.
  • Affordability: Compared to inlays, fillings are generally more cost-effective.
  • Convenience: Fillings can often be completed in a single dental visit, making them a convenient option for patients with busy schedules.

How Inlays and Fillings Differ

The primary difference between inlays and fillings lies in their design and application process. Inlays are custom-made restorations that are fabricated in a dental laboratory based on impressions of the patient’s tooth. They are then bonded to the tooth surface using dental cement. Fillings, on the other hand, are applied directly into the prepared cavity and shaped by the dentist to restore the tooth’s structure.

Who Qualifies for Inlays?

Inlays are ideal for patients with moderate to severe tooth decay or damage that extends beyond the chewing surface of the tooth. They are also a good option for individuals who prioritize aesthetics and want a restoration that closely matches the appearance of their natural teeth.

Who Qualifies for Dental Fillings?

Fillings are suitable for patients with minor to moderate tooth decay or damage that does not extend beyond the chewing surface of the tooth. They are also a practical choice for individuals looking for a more affordable and convenient treatment option.

Dental Filling Process

Fillings can usually be completed in a single visit to Polished Dental Care. Dr. White will begin by removing any decayed or damaged tooth structure. The filling material is then applied directly into the prepared cavity and shaped to restore the tooth’s natural contour. Once the filling is in place, it is hardened using a special curing light.

Make the Best Decision for Your Smile

Both inlays and fillings offer effective solutions for restoring damaged teeth and preserving oral health. The choice between the two depends on factors such as the extent of the damage, aesthetic preferences, and budget considerations. By understanding the differences between these two treatments, you can work with your Grand Rapids, MI dentist by calling (616) 698-6663 to determine the best option for your unique needs.


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About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Liz White</a>

Liz White

Dr. Liz White received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Albion College before completing her Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 2012.

Further Reading