Inlays and onlays are state of art, conservative dental restorations. Dental Inlays and Onlays are the procedures that are mid-way between a filling and crown. Inlays and onlays are used when there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling yet there is also not enough damage for a dental crown. Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of natural teeth whereas as an alternative inlays/onlays are bonded directly onto a tooth using special resins that actually increase the strength of the tooth. Dental inlay lies within the cusp on chewing surface of teeth. Whereas an onlay is more extensive and tends to cover more than one cusp.
Materials Used in Inlays and Onlays in Dentistry
- Both inlays and onlays can be composed of gold, resin (composite) or ceramic material.
- In the past, gold has been the material of choice.
- In recent years, porcelain has become popular due to its strength and shade that matches the natural tooth color.
Procedure for Inlay and Onlay Treatment
An Inlay and Onlay is a solid filling fabricated outside the mouth and then cemented into the tooth. The procedure performed in two dental visits.
- At first visit, removal of the old filling and decay is performed and the tooth is prepared for the restoration.
- Next, we take an impression (mold) of the tooth and send it to our dental laboratory.
- The lab fabricates a precision-made porcelain inlay or onlay using the impression.
- At the second visit the temporary inlay or onlay is removed and the permanent ceramic one is bonded to the tooth with a strong bonding resin and polished smooth.
- Generally, we take a digital x-ray to ensure a precision fit on the restoration and then make any necessary adjustments.
Advantages of Inlays and Onlays in Dentistry
- Compared to a composite filling, an inlay or onlay increases the strength of tooth and has a greater lifespan.
- These are the best alternatives to a crown when teeth damage is not extensive.
- Gives better aesthetic appearance as compared to amalgam (silver/mercury) filling. No metal shows.
- In comparison to a crown (cap), they are more biologically compatible because more enamel remains to come into contact with the gums.
- Greater longevity the a routine filling.
- Once bonded to the tooth, it increases the strength of the tooth.
Disadvantages of inlays/ onlays
- More expensive than routine fillings.
- Requires a second visit.
If you have questions regarding your need for an inlay, onlay, crown or routine filling, give us a call at Forum Dental Group (425) 357-1818 or you may ask it here.