Tooth Fillings Richmond Hill

Comparing Dental Fillings, Inlays, and Onlays

Most of us are aware of dental fillings, since either you or a relative has probably had a filling to fix a cavity. Other, most people have not heard of other types of fillings such as inlays and onlays. Knowing the difference and similarities can help you understand the process and determine when these solutions are right for you.

What are Fillings?

Fillings are the most common fix for small to medium sized cavities. Traditionally, fillings have been silver-colored, but these days, most dentists can offer a tooth-colored composite resin filling that blends in naturally with the original color of your teeth.

With composite resin fillings, the damaged parts of the tooth are removed before inserting the filling. An amalgam filling is used to eliminate a large part of the tooth structure. Composite resin bonds tightly to the original tooth structure to create a solid seal to prevent bacterial invasion. Inserting composite resin filling is sometimes a difficult and sensitive procedure, yet the payoff is in a finished product that looks great.

What are Inlays

Inlays are used to patch large tooth surfaces and to fix large cavities, assuming typical filling will not do the job. Such large surfaces can grow cavities, as they contain very deep fissures and can trap plaque or food easily. A dentist will need to carefully prepare the tooth with an inlay before making a thorough impression which is sent to our dental laboratory so that your inlay can be handmade from porcelain. On the next appointment, the procedure can be completed.

Alternatively, some dentists may have the ability to make a porcelain inlay while you wait. Using the latest CAD/CAM technology, this procedure requires your tooth to be scanned and this information is used to craft an inlay. The specifications are next sent to the CEREC machine on site and your new inlay is cut from a solid block of porcelain. It is intentionally shaded to closely match your tooth color. This process avoids the need for a temporary inlay and the need for a second appointment.


Onlays are essentially the same as inlays but are larger. They help patch gaps in the middle of surfaces or on one or more cusps (the raised points on a tooth). Onlays cover a wider area to fix the damage caused by a cavity. The onlay are made in the same manner as an inlay, either in our dental laboratory or with our machine on site.

Whether fillings, inlays, onlays, your teeth are repaired of damage and get a protective boost. Smile bright, knowing your teeth are restored. Use our website and network to contact one of these Dentists in Richmond Hill to schedule an appointment to take care of your cavity.