Dental Inlays and Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays are a more conservative approach to tooth restoration than full crowns. They are used to repair posterior (back) teeth that have mild to moderate tooth decay or for cracked teeth where the damage does not warrant a crown. Porcelain, composite resin and sometimes gold are used to create inlays and onlays. Inlays refer to those procedures where the restorative material is limited to the center of the tooth and does not involve the cusps of the tooth, while onlays refer to those procedures where the restorative material can extend further to one or more cusps of the tooth.
What are the benefits of inlays and onlays?
Natural look: Inlays and onlays have a natural tooth colour that makes them virtually invisible compared to metal fillings.
Great fit: Inlays and onlays will not expand or contract based on temperature like metal fillings. Longevity: Inlays and onlays last longer than any other type of filling.
Minimal tooth structure removed: Inlays and onlays require less removal of natural tooth structure than crowns helping to preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure while restoring decayed or damaged areas.
How it’s done
Typically, two visits are required for the placement of an inlay or onlay. In the first visit, I will prepare your tooth for the inlay or onlay and take an impression of your tooth. The impression will be sent to the lab along with a lab prescription instructing the lab to make the inlay or onlay. Before you leave, I will fit your tooth with a temporary inlay or onlay to keep the tooth protected between visits. There is usually a 2 week period of time between appointments while the inlay or onlay is made at the lab.
During your second visit, I will remove the temporary and fit your tooth with the permanent inlay or onlay received from the lab. Once I have checked the form and fit of your permanent inlay or onlay and your bite is okay I will bond (cement) the inlay or onlay to your tooth.