Fillings, inlays and onlays aim to seal the gaps in teeth caused by tooth decay and help protect teeth from further damage. Kelmscott Dental offers both composite fillings and porcelain inlays and onlays for larger gaps in teeth. Both are colour-matched to blend in seamlessly with your smile.

White Fillings in Kelmscott

Traditional fillings were silver and made of amalgam or mercury that were durable enough to withstand chewing forces but weren’t very aesthetically pleasing. Silver fillings also required more of the natural tooth to be filed down in preparation of the filling being placed. This put the tooth at a higher risk of fracturing.

White fillings have become a far more popular restoration for sealing gaps in teeth. Made from composite resin, it works in harmony with the tooth’s structure, blends in your natural tooth colour and requires less of the tooth to be filed down. White fillings are directly applied, formed to tooth’s shape and bonded in place using a curing light. 

For more information about fillings or if you’d like to book an appointment call our team at Kelmscott Dental on (08) 9495 7999 or book an appointment online.

The Lifespan of a Filling

According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) this depends on the “position, shape, material, and functioning pressure”.

The ADA says that larger fillings that “bear a heavy functional load” tend to break down quicker than those that are smaller and have little force.

During a procedure however, a dentist may have an idea of the life expectancy of the filling.

A dentist regularly monitors your fillings as part of a normal check-up, looking for decay, sensitivity, cracks, discolouration or weakness.

Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resin is a plastic filling material that can be matched to blend in with the tooth’s natural colour. It is used to fill small cavities or small defects caused by fracture.

The material is applied directly to the prepared tooth and sculpted into the right shape. The material hardens and bonds to the tooth structure using a curing light. It’s then polished to a high shine, and practically indistinguishable from natural teeth.

Composite resin is also used for tooth bonding treatments, where a front tooth is resurfaced to correct small aesthetic flaws in the colour, shape or position of a tooth.

If you have a larger cavity, composite resin may not be strong enough to fill the gap. In this case, your dentist may recommend a porcelain inlay or onlay.

Porcelain Inlays and Onlays

Porcelain is a very strong, durable and aesthetic material suitable for larger gaps or cracks. Porcelain can be colour-matched to the natural tooth and has a similar translucent quality to enamel. Inlays and onlays are used when a filling isn’t suitable enough to seal a gap.

Inlays fill larger gaps in teeth and are made using impressions taken of the tooth and custom-designed in a dental lab. When they come back from the lab, they can be cemented onto the tooth for a precise fit. Inlays restore the chewing surfaces of a back tooth and tend to contract less than conventional fillings, which means they can last longer.

Onlays are similar to inlays, but cover the cusp or raised points of the tooth, as well as the chewing surface. Onlays are used for larger restorations where a filling or inlay wouldn’t be enough to cover the gap. Like inlays, they are also custom-made in a dental lab for a precise fit and tend to be more expensive than fillings or inlays.

Book a Consultation with Us

If you think you need a dental examination or are concerned about an existing filling or restoration, call the team at Kelmscott Dental on (08) 9495 7999 or book online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a filling, inlay and onlay?

Fillings are made of composite resin and bonded directly onto the prepared tooth while inlays and onlays are made of milled porcelain and custom-made using impressions of your mouth that are provided to a dental lab to design. Fillings and inlays restore chewing surfaces while onlays restore both the chewing surfaces and cusps of a tooth. Inlays and onlays are more expensive but can last longer than fillings.

When would I need an onlay?

An onlay is used to restore a gap caused by a larger cavity that spills over the cusp (raised points) of a tooth, as well as the chewing surface. 

How long does a filling last?

A composite filling can last between 5 and 10 years. Teeth that have been restored are still prone to chipping and tooth decay, which is why it’s important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, to keep teeth and gums in good shape.

How long does an inlay or onlay last?

With good care, a porcelain inlay or onlay can last between 10 and 15 years on average. Porcelain is very durable and is able to withstand greater chewing forces than composite resin, and because they’re designed in a lab for a precise fit, they are at less risk of developing tooth decay. 

Is an onlay better than a crown?

Onlays are generally less expensive than crowns and can last just as long as a crown with proper care, however if the tooth has been damaged to a point where its structure is at risk, a dental crown may be the recommended treatment. Inlays are adjustable, repairable and require less preparation than a crown but offer less strength and durability.


Book an implant consultation with Dr Norcross today!

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Comprehensive Dental Assessment for $150 (valued at $306) includes:

  • Comprehensive examination
  • 2 check-up x-rays (if required)
  • Full mouth panoramic x-ray (if required)
  • Treatment planning


Contact us today to learn more about our dental services, to book an appointment or if you want to chat about your options.


(08) 9495 7999
2915 Albany Highway
Kelmscott WA 6111, Australia

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Kelmscott Dental is your local choice for your friendly, family dentist servicing the Kelmscott, Armadale and Gosnells areas as well as surrounding suburbs.


We offer a range of flexible payment options including Afterpay, Zip, Openpay and SuperCare to help you access treatment sooner.

Opening Hours
Mon: 7:30am–5:30pm
Tue: 7:30am–5:30pm
Wed: 7:30am–7pm
Thu: 7:30am–5:30pm
Fri: 7:30am–4:30pm

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