Inlays / Onlays
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
When more than half of a tooth’s biting surface is damaged, our dentists will often use an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays are more complex restorations than simple fillings, but more conservative than crowns.
They’re used in place of a composite resin, for added strength and durability and may be made of porcelain or gold. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which may potentially match the natural color of the teeth.
Procedures for Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared by removing the old filling or the damaged parts. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist and sent to a lab for fabrication. A temporary restoration will be made in our office.
At the second appointment, the temporary is removed. Our dentist makes sure the inlay or onlay fit is correct. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay is bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish. Now, the teeth are restored to a natural look and feel and are stronger too!