Dental inlays and onlays restore damaged teeth conservatively for a lasting, healthy smile

Our team at Harmony Smile Dental is dedicated to a pleasant experience at our office in Sunnyvale, California. When individuals and their families feel comfortable with us, they return for routine dental check-ups and cleanings. In partnership with our dentist, Dr. Ryan Zhuoran Zhao, our patients can avoid the decay and disease that lead to the need for dental restorations. 

Should your tooth sustain damage, however, we take a conservative approach to precisely building up portions of the lost or deteriorated structure. Dental inlays and onlays are a conservative alternative to dental crowns. They:

  • Preserve to the utmost the natural healthy tooth structure 
  • Only alter the lost or irreparably damaged tooth material 
  • Perfectly replicate a tooth’s natural appearance, feel in the mouth, and function
  • Are incredibly strong when bonded to the tooth

Dental Inlays and Onlays Q&A

What are dental inlays? 

Each inlay is a dental material that has been “prepared” and shaped to fill in and rebuild specific portions of a tooth. It is placed on and secured to the chewing surface of a tooth. Inlays may be appropriate for patients with worn or old fillings or large cavities. Big fillings make the tooth vulnerable to further damage. 

What are dental onlays?

Patients with more extensive damage to a tooth can benefit from a dental onlay. Whereas inlays involve rebuilding structure in or inside the tooth, between its cusps or tips, onlays also fit on at least one cusp, point, or tip of the tooth. They are less conservative than inlays but more conservative than full-coverage dental crowns. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as “partial crowns.” They do not fit over or replicate the entire visible portion of the tooth, the natural crown. 

What materials are used? 

We can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each material with you. Some materials are stronger than others. Likewise, patients who require dental restorations may desire a more aesthetic solution for teeth visible when they smile. Composite resin or dental ceramics can be a cosmetic option and a solid and long-lasting way to rebuild damaged teeth. They mimic the appearance of natural enamel and, once bonded to the teeth, are incredibly resilient. 

Am I a good candidate for dental inlays or onlays? 

We will find that out during an examination! If we determine that you are well-suited to benefit from these conservative restorations, we will ensure the diseased tissue is removed. The tooth is reshaped and cleaned. Then, we gather information about the prepared tooth. This information, including a mold or model of the tooth, is used to design and fabricate each restoration. Once the inlay or onlay is ready, Dr. Zhao fixes it securely to the tooth. Your restored teeth can last for years with good oral hygiene and routine visits to our office for professional cleanings!

Start the process today. Call (408) 738-1000 to schedule your appointment at Harmony Smile Dental in Sunnyvale.

Dr. Zhao

Dr. Zhao

Dr. Ryan Zhao, DDS, PhD, the dental specialist at Harmony Smile Dental in Sunnyvale, California, prioritizes preventive care to optimize oral health. With a foundation of trust, compassion, and expertise, Dr. Zhao dedicates quality time to each patient, restoring smiles through state-of-the-art procedures. Holding a DDS from the University of California, San Francisco, and a PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he remains at the forefront of dentistry as a member of professional organizations. Fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Shanghainese, Dr. Zhao's commitment to personalized care and continuous learning is reflected in his authoritative and trustworthy approach.