Inlays and Onlays

An inlay or onlay restoration is a custom made, tooth colored porcelain filling. Inlays and onlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth. They are sometimes referred to as a partial crown and are made by a professional dental laboratory.

Inlays and onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and must to be included in the restoration.

Inlays and onlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent while inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high strength cements, can actually increase the strength by up to 75 percent.

As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement, however, they are highly durable and will last for many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for Inlay or Onlay Restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.

What does getting an inlay or onlay involve?

An inlay or onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include shaping your tooth and taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay or onlay.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay or onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be made to protect the tooth while your inlay or onlay is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

At the second appointment, we will remove your temporary and permanently cement the final inlay or onlay into position. After polishing and modifying the restoration as necessary to ensure proper alignment, you’ll enjoy your stronger, healthier smile for years to come.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet and regular dental visits will extend in the life of your new inlay or onlay.