Dental Restoration: Exploring Dental Inlays, Onlays, and Crowns

Dental Restoration: Exploring Dental Inlays, Onlays, and Crowns

Maintaining optimal oral health is not just about aesthetics but also about preserving the functionality of your teeth. When damage or decay occurs, choosing the right dental restoration can make all the difference. Among the options available—Class II restorations, dental inlays, onlays, and crowns—each serves a unique purpose in dental care, much like different approaches to repairing a house. Let’s explore how these treatments work to preserve your teeth, using this easy-to-understand analogy.

Class II Restorations: Laying Bricks

Class 2 restorations are dental procedures designed to repair and restore teeth that have moderate to large cavities, particularly in the posterior (back) teeth. These restorations are essential for preventing further decay and maintaining the structural integrity of the affected teeth.

Imagine you need to repair a wall in your house. A Class II restoration is like laying bricks one by one to fill in the gaps. This method involves removing decay and then filling the cavity with a material such as composite resin. It’s a direct approach, suitable for small to medium cavities, especially between teeth. However, like laying bricks, it can involve removing both decayed and some healthy parts of the tooth to ensure a proper fit and prevent future decay.

Dental Inlays and Onlays: Prefabricated Precision

In contrast, inlays and onlays are like using a prefabricated piece to repair a damaged section of your house. These pieces are custom-made in a lab to fit the exact shape of the damage, then bonded to the tooth. Dental inlays and onlays are made to match your tooth’s colour and are less invasive than traditional fillings, preserving more of your natural tooth.

dental inlays and onlays


Dental inlays are typically employed when the damage to a tooth is too extensive for a simple filling but not extensive enough to warrant a full dental crown. These custom-made pieces are crafted in a dental lab to fit into the prepared space of a tooth, to restore its shape, strength, and function.

Made from impressions of the patient’s tooth, inlays ensure a precise fit, seamlessly blending with the natural tooth structure. The process involves removing the damaged part of the tooth and fitting the custom inlay precisely, preserving more of the natural tooth compared to dental crowns.

Think of inlays like a perfectly cut puzzle piece that snugly fits into the tooth, filling the space left by decay. They reinforce the tooth from within, surrounded by the natural structure, without impacting the outer walls of the tooth.


Dental onlays are used when a tooth needs more than a standard filling but falls short of requiring a full dental crown. They cover a larger area than inlays, extending over one or more cusps to provide additional support and coverage.

Like inlays, onlays are meticulously crafted in a dental laboratory to match the prepared space of the tooth in order to restore its shape, strength, and function. They are made from impressions of the patient’s tooth, to ensure a precise fit and seamlessly integrate with the natural tooth structure.

During the procedure, the damaged portion of the tooth is removed, impressions are taken, and a custom onlay is fitted precisely, preserving a significant amount of the natural tooth.

Crowns: A Complete Overhaul

When a tooth is severely damaged, a crown is like replacing the entire section of the wall. Crowns are commonly used for severe decay, fractures, or after root canal therapy. Crowns provide both aesthetic and functional benefits, ensuring the tooth’s strength and integrity are fully restored.

To fit a crown, the tooth must be shaped and reduced, sometimes removing up to two-thirds of its original structure.

This process provides a new, durable surface for the tooth, protecting and restoring it when other treatments might not be enough. Crowns encase the entire tooth, offering a solution for teeth that have suffered extensive damage or decay.

Traditionally, getting a crown required multiple appointments and waiting for a lab to create the crown. However, with same day crowns at DP Dental, you can now address the restoration needs of damaged, decayed, cracked, or broken teeth—all in just one day.

Choosing the Right Treatment

Deciding between these options is like choosing the best way to repair your house. You need to consider the extent of the damage and the best way to restore integrity with minimal loss of original structure.

If you’re considering dental restoration, making an appointment with DP Dental can help you explore these options further. Our team of professionals can guide you towards the best choice for your dental health, using the latest technology and techniques to restore your smile.

Whether you need the targeted repair of dental inlays and onlays, the comprehensive coverage of a crown, or a traditional Class II restoration, DP Dental is ready to help.

You may contact us at:

  • DP Dental Kovan: 6282 0122
  • DP Dental Orchard: 6219 3082
  • DP Coast Dental Katong: 6440 4605

Your smile is a precious part of who you are. With the right care and restoration, you can maintain its health and beauty for years to come. DP Dental is committed to providing personalised, effective treatment options tailored to your needs, ensuring your smile stays as natural and vibrant as ever.

DP Dental

At DP Dental, our philosophy is to solve problems at their root cause. We also believe that prevention is always better than cure, hence, we practice early-intervention dentistry, and we aim to be as minimally-invasive in our procedures as possible.