What are Dental Inlays?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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Dental inlays are used to repair decaying teeth that do not require extensive bridgework, or to replace older metal fillings. Most dental inlays are composed of porcelain, though some can be made from gold or composite resin. Patients that desire a natural smile often request porcelain inlays in lieu of metal fillings, since they are highly undetectable.

The placement of dental inlays is a relatively easy dental procedure, though the completion of inlays tends to require two dental visits. The first visit generally consists of obtaining a tooth impression, which is achieved by placing a temporary inlay upon the area. This impression is then sent to a dental lab where a precise mold of the tooth area is created. The second dental visit will complete the inlay task by replacing the temporary inlay with the permanent one.

Most patients that undergo inlay work do not experience a high level of pain, and most experience only minor discomfort. In fact, it is recommended that inlay patients return to regular activities directly following this type of dental work. This is one of the main reasons why inlays are popular with patients and dentists alike.


There are many benefits that come with the installation of dental inlays. One of the most important benefits is the fact that customized, bonded inlays do not leave room for bacteria to enter the tooth area. Since dentists are able to closely adhere inlays to the tooth, the possibility of further decay is greatly diminished.

While metal fillings can contract and expand according to food temperature, dental inlays are not subject to either hot or cold food conditions. In addition, dental inlays allow a dentist to preserve a larger amount of a patient's natural tooth. When metal fillings are used, a larger portion of the tooth must be eliminated.

In addition, inlays last up to thirty years, which is significantly longer than any other type of filling. Due to their longevity and durability, the placement of inlays often prevents the need for further dental work at a later time. Another important aspect of inlays is the fact that they can strengthen teeth up to seventy percent, which often prevents future tooth breakage or loss.

Cost-wise, inlays tend to be more expensive than standard fillings. The overall cost of inlays will fluctuate from area to area, and often this cost is determined by the expertise of the dentist preforming the inlay installation.


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Post 3

If you are considering dental inlays to replace your old metal fillings, I would go with it. I had a few of them and I thought the metal looked terrible.

After I discovered my fillings were amalgam fillings I went and had the work done as there have been issues raised with amalgam. Amalgam fillings are mixed with mercury and there are many that think they can cause problems in humans when the fillings break down and the mercury is ingested.

While there hasn't been much scientific evidence to support the danger of amalgam fillings, I wasn't taking any chances so I had the dental inlays done in resin. It looks great and now I don't have to worry about health complications.

Post 1

I think that if you need dental work done choosing dental inlays is a great choice. When I had to get a filling at my dentist he basically told me that the old metal fillings weren't even an option anymore, it was either gold or I could go with the porcelain.

I have always preferred natural looking teeth so of course I picked the porcelain inlays. They really do look great and they were super easy to have put in. I was actually surprised at how good of an experience the whole thing was as dental work usually hurts.

As far as aftercare goes, I was able to return to work later that day and had no trouble eating or drinking after the procedure. Though I did wait a few hours just to be safe.

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