What are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are bonded to the teeth to protect them. They are applicable when more than half of a tooth’s biting surface needs repair. Inlays and onlays can be made of ceramic, gold, or white resin. An inlay is inserted between the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is used to cover a more substantial portion of a tooth, which includes one or more of the cusps of a tooth. Depending on where the tooth is in one’s mouth, Dr. Chang-LeMone will decide which material to use in your particular case.
What is involved in the procedure?
Two appointments are required to finish the procedure. At the first appointment, Dr. Chang-LeMone will remove the old filling, decay, and any damaged tooth structure and prepare the tooth. Then she will take an impression of your tooth and send it to a dental lab for fabrication of the restoration. You will be sent home with a temporary restoration to keep the tooth protected. Two weeks later, you will return to the dental office for your second appointment. During this appointment, Dr. Chang-LeMone will have you try on the inlay or onlay to ensure the proper fit before bonding it onto your tooth.
Inlays and onlays are great alternative to crowns when applicable. They allow us to preserve more tooth structure than a crown does. Because inlays and onlays are bonded directly to the tooth structure, they can increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. With proper care, inlays and onlays can last well over a decade.