Inlays & Onlays
When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay.
What are dental inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. The individual restorations are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a dental 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.
Over the course of the past decade, porcelain and zirconia have become increasingly popular as restorative materials due to their strength and color characteristics, which can now accurately match the natural color of your teeth.
How are inlays and onlays applied?
Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth will be made, and processed in our lab for fabrication. A temporary restoration will be placed within the tooth until the final restoration is cemented.
At the second appointment, the temporary is removed. Dr. Jamison will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. Once the restoration satisfies all aesthetic and functional criteria the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.
Considerations for Inlays and Onlays
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last a lifetime. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire dental crown, onlays can provide a fantastic alternative.