How Long Do Inlays and Onlays Last? By Dr. John Goodman on August 24, 2020

illustration of inlay and onlay on molar teethThere are several different types of dental restorations designed to address various levels of damage to a tooth. For example, a filling can address mild decay while a dental crown is often used for more severe deterioration. Inlays and onlays are typically recommended when damage is too serious for a filling but not severe enough for a crown.

But just how long do inlays and onlays last? On average, these restorations will not need replacing for 20 to 30 years. Following the proper guidelines can help prolong the life of your restorations and preserve your oral health. Here, Dr. John Goodman in Kansas City, MO, explains how to care for your inlays and onlays so they last for years to come.

Inlays vs Onlays: The Basics

Inlays and onlays are both custom-crafted to fit your unique dental anatomy. While an inlay sits on the chewing surface of a tooth between the dental cusps, an onlay is slightly larger, and involves at least one cusp.

These restorations are typically made from tooth-colored dental materials so that they blend in seamlessly with your smile. They are often crafted from composite resin or porcelain, depending on your specific oral health needs, personal goals, and budget.

Factors Affecting the Lifetime of Inlays and Onlays

There are several different factors that can impact the longevity of your dental restorations. The lifetime of your inlay or onlay can be affected by the:

  • Location of the affected tooth
  • Type of material used
  • Condition of the nerves inside the tooth
  • Patient’s level of oral hygiene
  • Amount of daily force the tooth is subject to

Prolonging the Life of Your Restorations

While your inlay or onlay will need replacing eventually, there are certain things you can do to prolong the life of your restoration. Follow these guidelines recommended by your Kansas City, MO, dental team:

  • Brush at least twice every day. To keep harmful bacteria at bay, clean your teeth thoroughly two to three times a day, preferably about 30 minutes after every meal.
  • Floss once daily. Cleaning between the teeth helps reduce plaque, tartar, and bacteria in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps remineralize enamel and protect the teeth from further damage. We also recommend purchasing a nonabrasive formula that will not scratch your restorations.
  • Break bad habits. Never chew on pencils, pen caps, or ice. Avoid biting your nails. These habits can cause damage to your natural teeth as well as your inlays and onlays.
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods. Taffy and caramels can dislodge your restorations, while hard foods like nuts or popcorn can cause them to crack or break. 
  • Visit your dentist regularly. During routine exams and cleanings, your dental team can assess your restorations to ensure they are in good condition. Any potential issues can be addressed before they worsen.

Contact Our Practice to Learn More

Do you have inlays or onlays or know that you need a restorative procedure? Proper maintenance can preserve your restorations and promote healthy teeth and gums. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment at our Kansas City, MO, office, contact us online or give us a call at (816) 842-8585.

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John P. Goodman, DDS

John P. Goodman, DDS We Give Kansas City a Reason to Smile!

Dr. John Goodman has more than two decades of experience serving the community of Kansas City, MO. He offers a comprehensive range of services to address all types of dental problems, and he accepts CareCredit® financing to make treatment as accessible as possible. 

To request a consultation, please fill out our online form or call us at (816) 842-8585.

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"My experience with Dr. John Goodman DDS was outstanding. The entire staff was courteous and very accommodating. Dr. Goodman made me feel very comfortable but also finally gave me hope for having that "beautiful smile" that we (with not so good teeth) always wish for. I left feeling elated and excited for the first time about a dental appointment."

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