Inlays & Onlays
If you have a damaged tooth, you may be wondering what your options are for repair. A dentist may recommend an inlay or onlay if more than half of the tooth's biting surface is damaged. Inlays and onlays are custom-made pieces that can be created from porcelain, gold, or composite resin, and they are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth.
Inlays are similar to fillings and are used inside the cusp tips of the tooth, while onlays are more substantial reconstructions that extend out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. Gold has traditionally been the material of choice for inlays and onlays, but porcelain has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its strength and ability to match the natural color of your teeth.
The process for applying inlays and onlays requires two appointments. During the first appointment, the damaged area of the tooth is removed, and an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist to ensure proper fit and bite. The impression is then sent to a lab for fabrication, and a temporary sealant is applied to the tooth until the second appointment.
At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed, and the inlay or onlay is checked for proper fit. If the fit is satisfactory, it will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.
Inlays and onlays can actually increase the strength of a natural tooth by up to 75 percent, as they are bonded directly onto the tooth using special, high-strength resins. They can last from 10 to 30 years and provide a good alternative to a crown in cases where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss if inlays or onlays are the right solution to repair your teeth, don't hesitate to contact our office.