Inlays & Onlays

Porcelain inlays and onlays are highly effective and conservative solutions for addressing issues like cavity pain, reduced chewing strength, and general deterioration of the back teeth. They offer an excellent balance between standard fillings and more extensive crowns, providing effective restoration of damaged and decayed tooth surfaces. Here's an overview of inlays and onlays:

What Are Inlays and Onlays?
  • Inlays and onlays are dental restorations used to replace damaged or decayed parts of a tooth. They are specifically designed for molars and premolars, which have multiple "cusps" or raised points on their outer edges.
  • Inlays are used to fill and repair the areas of a tooth between the cusps, while onlays perform the same function and additionally cover one or more cusps.
  • Once inlays and onlays are fully attached to a tooth, they replace the damaged and lost portions, allowing normal use without any change to regular at-home dental care.
  • These restorations are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth and blend seamlessly with your smile, ensuring that only you will know the difference.
Inlays and Onlays Overview
  • Inlays and onlays have been used since at least the nineteenth century. Historically, porcelain inlays have been available since 1857.
  • They are typically made from materials like gold, porcelain, or ceramics. These restorations are custom-made outside of the mouth and then bonded to the damaged tooth.
  • The procedure usually involves two appointments. During the first visit, dental impressions are taken and sent to a dental lab, where the inlay or onlay is manufactured. During the second visit, the inlay or onlay is bonded to the tooth.
  • Gold inlays and onlays are the most durable but typically require multiple visits. Ceramic and porcelain options tend to be more aesthetically pleasing and natural-looking.
When Inlays and Onlays Are the Solution
  • Inlays and onlays are chosen when a standard filling would not provide enough support for the damaged tooth, and a crown would be excessive as it would require significant restructuring of the entire tooth.
  • They are also selected when a filling might weaken the remaining tooth structure too much. Inlays and onlays offer a supportive and strengthening solution for damaged teeth without excessive reshaping.
  • However, there are situations where a filling or crown might be the more appropriate restoration. Consult with your dentist to determine if an inlay or onlay is the right choice for your specific dental needs.
  • After an inlay or onlay has been placed on the tooth, maintenance is straightforward. They should be cared for just like a normal tooth, including regular brushing twice a day, daily flossing, and maintaining a healthy diet.
  • With proper care, most inlays and onlays can last for many years. If you have any questions or concerns about how to best maintain your inlays and onlays, don't hesitate to discuss them with your dentist, who will be happy to provide guidance.