What Is the Difference Between a Filling and an Inlay?

Maintaining good oral health is essential for a confident smile and overall well-being. As part of our commitment to providing comprehensive dental care at Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, we want to help our patients understand various dental procedures.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between dental fillings and inlays, two common treatments for restoring damaged or decayed teeth.

One way we do this is through fillings. Dental fillings are a fundamental aspect of restorative dentistry. They are used to repair teeth that have been affected by cavities, minor fractures, or other types of damage.

The procedure involves removing the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth and filling the resulting cavity with a suitable material to restore both function and appearance.

Types of Dental Fillings:

Amalgam Fillings: These are made from a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. They are durable and have been used for many years, though their appearance is less discreet than other options.

Composite Fillings: These are made from a tooth-colored resin material that can be closely matched to the shade of the natural teeth. Composite fillings are more aesthetically pleasing and are a popular choice for visible teeth.

What if the filling isn’t enough?

An inlay is a more extensive restoration than a filling and is often used when a tooth has more substantial damage or decay that cannot be adequately addressed with a simple filling. Inlays are custom-made restorations that fit within the contours of the tooth, typically covering the chewing surface and the area between the cusps, or raised points, of the teeth.

Key Differences Between Fillings and Inlays:

·         Size of Restoration: Fillings are suitable for smaller cavities or areas of damage, while inlays are used for larger restorations that cover a significant portion of the tooth’s surface.

·         Material: Fillings can be made from various materials, including amalgam and composite. In contrast, inlays are often crafted from materials like porcelain, which provides strength and a natural appearance.

·         Customization: Inlays are fabricated in a dental laboratory based on impressions taken from the prepared tooth. This ensures a precise fit and allows for better customization compared to direct fillings, which are placed directly into the cavity.

·         Strength and Durability: Due to their custom-made nature and the materials used, inlays offer greater strength and durability compared to some fillings. They are particularly suitable for teeth subjected to more substantial chewing forces.

Both dental fillings and inlays play crucial roles in restorative dentistry, helping us maintain the health and functionality of our teeth. Fillings are ideal for smaller areas of damage, while inlays are a fantastic solution for larger restorations requiring added strength and precision.

At Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, we are dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about your dental care. If you have concerns about cavities, damage, or any dental issues, please call to schedule an appointment with our experienced team to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

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