Inlays and Onlays

Inlays & Onlays

When about half of the tooth has an old restoration that needs upgrading or is damaged a dentist can use an inlay or onlay as a more conservative approach to placing a crown.

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays are generally made of porcelian. These custom designed pieces of porcelain are bonded to the damaged portion of the tooth. An inlay (top image) is similar to a filling and is bonded between the cusps of a tooth. On the other hand, an onlay (bottom image) generally extends a bit further over a cusp tip but is still smaller than a full coverage restoration (crown).

Porcelian has become more popular for inlays and onlays as technology has improved however if you wish to have a gold restoration placed that can be designed as well.

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How do I get my final Inlay or Onlay?

Generally speaking, Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. At your first visit we will remove the old restoration and any decay hidden underneath preparing the tooth for the future restoration. An impression is then made by our team, and is send to the dental ceramist to fabricate you custom designed inlay/onlay. You will leave with a provisional restoration.

At your second appointment, the provisional restoration will be removed. Dr. Homonnay will bond the new porcelain restoration to your tooth and then fine tune your bite so that it feels and looks comfortable and natural.

Tooth colored fillings can reduce the overall strength of a tooth if it is a large restoration. Inlays and onlays provide and alternative solution. They are extremely durable larger solutions to a filling. The advantage is that inlays and onlays are more conservative than a crown but they are stronger and longer lasting that a simple tooth colored filling. They are the intermediate step between a filling and a crown. You can think of it almost like a three-fifths crown.

Inlay Video: