Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays: A Comprehensive Restoration Approach

Are you dealing with teeth too damaged for dental fillings but not so damaged that you need new dental crowns? At Bozeman Gentle Dentistry, Dr. Cassandra Murphy emphasizes cosmetic dentistry solutions like inlays and onlays to preserve and enhance your smile. Call us to learn more about the benefits of inlays and onlays and how these conservative restorations can repair your smile.

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What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays, also known as indirect fillings and partial crowns, are dental restorations that serve as a middle ground between traditional fillings and crowns. These custom-made restorations repair damaged or decayed teeth. Inlays are designed to fit within the contours of the tooth, specifically within the cusps, while onlays extend over one or more cusps of the tooth. Unlike fillings molded into place during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are crafted in a dental laboratory, ensuring a precise fit and optimal aesthetics. 

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Materials Used in Inlays and Onlays

  • Porcelain: Porcelain inlays and onlays, renowned for their natural appearance, seamlessly match your tooth’s color and translucency for a restoration that blends with your smile.
  • Composite Resin: Composite resin inlays and onlays offer versatility and affordability. Bozeman Gentle Dentistry ensures these restorations maintain durability while perfectly matching the color of your natural teeth.
  • Gold Alloys: For strength and durability, gold alloy inlays and onlays are a robust choice. While the gold color may differ, Bozeman Gentle Dentistry recommends these for back teeth where functionality is a priority.
  • Ceramic: Experience the strength of porcelain with the durability of other materials with our ceramic inlays and onlays. Bozeman Gentle Dentistry’s ceramic restorations resist staining and offer a natural appearance.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Dental inlays and onlays offer numerous benefits for patients looking for effective and attractive dental solutions. Some of the many benefits of inlays and onlays include the following:

  • Conservative Approach: Choosing inlays and onlays at Bozeman Gentle Dentistry means embracing a conservative approach that preserves more of your natural tooth structure. Dr. Murphy values maintaining your dental integrity.
  • Durability and Longevity: Crafted from top-tier materials like porcelain or composite resin, our indirect fillings and partial crowns offer durability and lasting results. We prioritize your long-term oral health, ensuring these restorations withstand chewing.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Bozeman Gentle Dentistry prioritizes aesthetic harmony. Our inlays and onlays, custom-matched to your natural teeth by Dr. Murphy, seamlessly blend with your smile, providing strength and visual appeal.
  • Preservation of Tooth Strength: In addition to preserving natural tooth structure, inlays and onlays reinforce the remaining tooth, enhancing overall strength. This can contribute to a more resilient and long-lasting restoration.
  • Customization for a Precise Fit: Bozeman Gentle Dentistry ensures a precise fit for your inlays and onlays through meticulous customization. The restorations are tailored to the unique teeth contours and dimensions, ensuring optimal functionality and comfort.
  • Minimized Tooth Sensitivity: Inlays and onlays can contribute to reducing tooth sensitivity, particularly in cases where the tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold stimuli. The restorations act as a barrier, offering insulation against temperature variations and external stimuli.
  • Biocompatibility of Materials: The materials used in crafting inlays and onlays, such as porcelain or composite resin, are biocompatible and well-tolerated by oral tissues. This minimizes the risk of allergic reactions or adverse responses, promoting oral health.
  • Stain Resistance: Certain materials, like porcelain and ceramic, used in inlays and onlays are highly resistant to staining. This ensures that your restorations maintain aesthetic appeal over time, resisting discoloration from food, beverages, or other external factors.
  • Improved Oral Hygiene: Inlays and onlays are easy to clean and maintain. Their smooth and precisely fitted surfaces discourage the accumulation of plaque and bacteria, promoting oral hygiene and reducing the risk of further decay.
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The Inlays and Onlays Procedure

Consultation and Examination

Begin your journey at Bozeman Gentle Dentistry with a comprehensive examination by Dr. Murphy. With advanced technology and a keen eye, we determine whether inlays or onlays are the ideal restorative solution for you. Your consultation is a great time to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. 

Tooth Preparation

Dr. Murphy will skillfully prepare the affected tooth, shaping it for the optimal shape and fit of your inlay or onlay. Bozeman Gentle Dentistry ensures a seamless process that prioritizes your comfort.

Impression Taking

Utilizing advanced dental technology, our team takes precise impressions or molds. These will help craft your custom inlay or onlay. 

Temporary Restoration (If Needed)

Bozeman Gentle Dentistry may provide a temporary cavity restoration while our dental laboratory meticulously crafts your custom inlay or onlay, ensuring your tooth remains protected during this period.

Bonding the Restoration

Return to Bozeman Gentle Dentistry for the final step. Dr. Murphy bonds your custom restoration, making any necessary adjustments for proper alignment and bite. Once your Bozeman cosmetic dentist is confident your restoration is in place, you’ll be free to enjoy your new smile. 

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Inlays and Onlays Aftercare and Maintenance


Oral Hygiene Practices

Maintain optimal oral health at home with regular brushing, flossing, and routine check-ups at Bozeman Gentle Dentistry. Our team ensures your inlays and onlays remain in prime condition.

Avoiding Certain Habits

Protect your restorations by avoiding habits that compromise them. Bozeman Gentle Dentistry recommends against biting hard objects or using your teeth as tools, preserving the integrity of your inlays and onlays.

Professional Cleanings

Regular professional cleanings at Bozeman Gentle Dentistry contribute to overall oral health and tooth decay. Our team monitors your restorations, addressing any issues promptly to ensure their longevity.

Dietary Considerations

Be mindful of your diet, especially in the immediate aftermath of inlay or onlay placement. Avoid excessively hard or sticky foods that may stress the restoration. Opt for a softer diet during the initial days to minimize stress on the newly placed restorations.

Mouthguard Usage

If you engage in activities that pose a risk of dental trauma, such as sports, consider using a mouthguard. This precautionary measure helps protect your inlays and onlays from potential damage and ensures their long-term effectiveness.

Timely Follow-up Appointments

Attend all recommended follow-up appointments at Bozeman Gentle Dentistry. These appointments allow our team to assess the condition of your indirect fillings and partial crowns, making any necessary adjustments and addressing issues proactively.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get my old metal fillings replaced with inlays or onlays?

Yes, replacing old metal fillings with modern inlays or onlays is a common practice. These restorations offer superior aesthetics, durability, and a more conservative approach than traditional metal fillings. Your cosmetic dentist can assess your existing fillings and discuss the possibility of upgrading to inlays or onlays for a more functional and visually pleasing result.

How long does the inlay/onlay placement procedure take?

The dental inlay/onlay placement procedure typically takes two dental visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared, and impressions are taken. A temporary restoration may be placed. The second visit involves bonding the custom-made inlay or onlay to the tooth. The duration may vary depending on the complexity of the case, but it is generally a relatively quick and straightforward process.

Will getting an inlay or onlay be painful?

The procedure for placing inlays or onlays is performed under local anesthesia, ensuring that you experience minimal discomfort. Patients often report little to no pain during the process. After the procedure, any mild discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications and it typically subsides within a few days.

Are inlays and onlays covered by insurance?

Coverage for inlays and onlays by insurance depends on the terms of your dental plan. Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost if the procedures are deemed medically necessary, but policies differ among providers. Check your insurance policy or contact your provider to understand the extent of coverage. Cosmetic or elective dental procedures may not be covered.

Choose Inlays & Onlays For A Sturdier, More Beautiful Smile

At Bozeman Gentle Dentistry, inlays and onlays stand as a testament to our dedication to preserving your natural tooth structure and enhancing your smile’s aesthetics. 

Consult with Dr. Murphy to explore personalized options for inlays and onlays tailored to your unique needs and preferences. Contact Bozeman Gentle Dentistry for an appointment today. Serving new and returning patients from Bozeman and surrounding areas such as Three Forks, Amsterdam, and Four Corners, MT. Your journey to a seamlessly restored smile begins with us.

Dr. Murphy

Meet Your Bozeman Dentist

My mission is to provide a comfortable, caring environment where you can expect to receive the most thorough and gentle care possible. I will take the time to learn what goals you wish to achieve, and we can also address any fear, guilt, or embarrassment you may be feeling that is preventing you from achieving those goals.

Meet Dr. Murphy

We Think Seeing the Dentist Should Be Simple

Seems like a no-brainer! Here at Bozeman Gentle Dentistry, we want seeing the dentist to be as easy as possible. You should feel heard, appreciated, and respected during every step of your visit. See how we make dentistry better for all our patients.

Easy Scheduling

Be seen when it’s most convenient for you and your family thanks to convenient, online appointment requests and flexible scheduling options. No more rushing to the dentist or trying to find the time.

Modern Convenience

Your visit should be stress-free, not stressful! Enjoy the convenience of mobile booking, digital forms, easy payment options, and much more.

State-of-the-art Technology

We use the latest equipment and treatments that modern dentistry has to offer, providing you with effective care for a lasting smile. Our treatments are designed to make you feel comfortable at all times.

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Complete Adult Checkup


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Includes X-rays, a comprehensive exam, and a cleaning.

New Patients only. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

Emergency Exam


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New Patients only. Cannot be combined with other offers.

Bozeman Gentle Dentistry is here to see you smile!