Dental inlays and onlays are restorations that are used when a filling isn't enough but a crown isn't necessarily needed. They are used to repair rear teeth that cracked, fractured, or have mild to moderate decay.
An inlay is similar to a filling, and is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. When a more substantial reconstruction in needed, an onlay is used, as it is larger than an inlay and extends out over on or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are a great alternative to regular fillings and have several benefits to them, including:
- Durability - The materials used in making inlays and onlays are resistant to pressure and last up to 30 years. It is possible for these restorations to last a lifetime with proper care.
- Tooth Preservation - Unlike the use of crowns that require trimming of the tooth, inlays and onlays only require removal of the damaged portion of the tooth, preserving most of the healthy tooth mass.
- Tooth Strengthening - Unlike traditional metal fillings which may reduce the strength of teeth by up to 50%, inlays and onlays actually help to strengthen your teeth by up to 75%.
- Reduced Dental Treatments - The use of inlays and onlays prolong tooth life and prevent a patients need for additional dental treatments.
How Are Inlays and Onlays Done?
Inlay and onlay restorations take two visits for completion. During your first appointment, the tooth being treated will be numbed with a local anesthetic so that any decay or damage can be removed by drilling and then cleaned and prepared. Once the tooth is prepared, a temporary filling will be placed and an impression will be made and sent off to a dental lab for construction.
At your second appointment, the temporary filling will be removed and the inlay or onlay will be placed. Once fitted correctly, Dr. Roher will make sure that the fit is perfect and you are comfortable with the results prior to permanently bonding it to the tooth. Once treatment is completed, the inlay or onlay will be polished to ensure a smooth finish.