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 inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a 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.
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 natural color of your teeth.
How are inlays and onlays applied?
Inlays and onlays can be done within the office in a single visit. During the 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. Your prepared tooth will be coated with a safe, tasteless powder. CEREC then uses a state of the art digital 3D camera to create an optical impression. CAD software allows us to design every precise detail of your restoration with the accuracy you’ve come to expect from us. The software allows us to customize the shape of the restoration to exactly fit your specific clinical needs. While you wait, exact design specifications are sent to our on-site milling machine to create your restoration. Your inlays or onlays is then fitted, polished and bonded for permanence. your tooth is restored back to its nature form, function and beauty.
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 from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.