Inlays and Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays are used when old fillings need to be removed or replaced. A dental inlay is similar to a filling and fits inside the cusp tips (top edges) of the tooth. A dental onlay is more extensive and extends over the cusps of the treated tooth.
What Dental Inlays Do?
Dental inlays repair the chewing surface of your tooth. Dentists may use dental inlays to repair teeth that have other restoration options such as a dental filling. You can have your inlays created of tooth-colored porcelain or composite resin. Most inlays are more durable than the composite or amalgam fillings. They are also less expensive than a dental crown. A laboratory creates your dental inlay using the exact specifications of the tooth that needs restoration. The dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth or teeth receiving the dental inlays and create an impression of your tooth/teeth and send it to a laboratory. The porcelain the lab uses to create your dental inlays will match the shade of your teeth. This allows your dental restoration to blend perfectly. The temporary restoration protects your teeth and allows you to chew safely and comfortably. Once your inlays arrive, your dentists will ensure that they fit perfectly and then secure them in place.
Many consider dental onlays indirect fillings. These onlays offer patients a stronger, well-fitting and longer lasting repair for tooth decay or other structural damage. While a dental filling is molded during your dental visit, an onlay is created in a dental laboratory before it is fitted and then bonded to a damaged tooth. A dental restoration that requires material to be bonded within the tooth’s center is considered an inlay whereas; restorations involving the entire biting surface or one or more points (cusps) of a tooth are onlays.
Some Benefits of Onlays:
- Easy Cleaning: Dental onlays are tailored to fit perfectly with minimal preparation. This makes cleaning a dental onlays easier than cleaning a crown.
- Color: A dental onlay is less likely to discolor than a tooth-colored resin filling.
- True Size: A composite filling may shrink while it cures, porcelain onlays will not.
- Natural Tooth Preservation: Dental onlays allow dentists to preserve the healthy tooth structure while restoring the damaged or decayed areas, this allows for functional longevity.
- Stability: Dental onlays are strong and stable. Their superior fit and resilient material makes onlays a great choice, sometimes even strengthening a damaged tooth.
Make an appointment with our office if you want to learn more about dental inlays and onlays.