Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold or composite resin. When over half of the tooth’s biting surfaces are damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or an onlay on the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used to fill the inside of the cusp tips of the tooth; an onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps (surfaces) of the tooth.
Dental Inlays-Onlays have become increasingly popular due to their strength and the potential to more naturally match the color of your teeth. Previously, gold, instead of porcelain, had been the material of choice for inlays and onlays due to its strength. Your doctor will help you determine the best material to use for your teeth if you feel that an inlay/onlay is the best treatment option.
What make a dental inlays-onlays procedure?
Inlays and onlays usually require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is taken, and sent to a lab for fabrication. Your doctor will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment. At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed, and your doctor will check to see that the fabricated inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.
What is the advantage of dental inlays-onlays over a traditional filling?
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50%. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, being bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75%. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.