Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair posterior teeth (premolars and molars) with mild to moderate decay or cracked and fractured teeth that are not sufficiently damaged to need a crown.
Ideal candidates for inlay or onlay work typically have too much damage or decay in the tooth structure to be successfully treated using a filling, but have sufficient healthy tooth remaining to avoid the need for a crown. This allows the dentist to conserve more of the patient’s original tooth structure.
Benefits of dental Inlay/Onlays:
- Conservative tooth reduction and preserving more tooth structure
- Durability – they’re made from tough, hard-wearing materials which may last up to 20 years.
- They help to strengthen teeth by bonding to tooth structure unlike traditional metal fillings that adhere to teeth by mechanical retention which may cause the tooth to crack.
Overall, Inlays and onlays prolong tooth life and prevent the need for more dental treatment in the future.
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.
During treatment the dentist removes the old fillings under local anesthesia and takes an impression of the tooth, which is sent to the dental laboratory. The new inlay or onlay is made from this mold in porcelain, gold or composite resin material. The inlay or onlay is then bonded into place by strong bonding agents at the next appointment. The inlay or onlay blends successfully with the treated tooth and the rest of the teeth to achieve a natural, uniform appearance.