Dentist Office

Inlays & Onlays

When more than half of the tooth's biting surface is damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or an onlay.

Dentist Chair

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and Onlays can be made of gold, porcelain, or composite resin. These pieces 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 an inlay but extended 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 can potentially match the color of your teeth.

How are inlays and onlays applied?

Inlays and onlays require tow appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling is 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 is made by the dentist and sent to the lab for fabrication. The dentist will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.

At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. Dr. Baysa will then make sure that the inlay or the onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with the strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.

Consideration 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 from 10 to 30 years. In some cases where the damage to the tooth  is not extensive enough to merit an entire dental crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.

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