In certain cases, inlays and onlays are a conservative alternative to full coverage dental crowns. Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays offer a well-fitting, stronger, longer lasting reparative solution to tooth decay or similar damage.
These restorations are beneficial from both an esthetic and functional point of view.
Inlays and onlays can often be used in place of traditional dental fillings to treat tooth decay or similar structural damage. Whereas dental fillings are molded into place within the mouth during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated indirectly in a dental lab before being fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth bydentist.
Typically, an inlay or onlay procedure is completed in two dental visits.
During your first visit, we must prepare the damaged tooth.
A molded impression of the tooth is then taken and sent to a dental laboratory, where an inlay or onlay is fabricated.
Inlays and onlays can be made from gold, porcelain or resin materials. The difference is in the appearance of the finished restoration. A fitted, provisional inlay or onlay (sometimes known as a temporary or "temp" for short) in the shape of the final restoration can be created during this visit to protect the tooth while the final restoration is being fabricated.
If esthetics is not a concern (for example, with back molars), gold is the best option. Porcelain inlays and onlays offer the best esthetics and are often used in the "smile line" areas. Resin materials may be the best option for people who grind their teeth and/or those with a misaligned bite (malocclusion).
During your second visit, the provisional temporary is removed and your inlay or onlay is placed.
Inlays and onlays are extremely stable restorations that seldom fail. Your dentist will check all margins to ensure a smooth fit with tight adjacent contacts. Your dentist will also check your bite to ensure that there are no occlusion-related problems affecting the margins of the restoration. Once fitted, the inlay or onlay is bonded onto the tooth and the margins are polished.