Dental inlays and onlays are a midway point between crowns and fillings. Your dentist may recommend inlay or onlay work if you have a rear tooth that is too damaged to support a filling but healthy enough to avoid the need for a crown. This way more of your original tooth structure is conserved.
What’s the difference between an inlay and an onlay?
Inlays rest between the cusps of your tooth’s chewing surface while onlays are larger and can cover several cusps.
What are they made from?
Inlays and onlays are primarily made from porcelain, composite resin, or gold. The first two materials can be colour-matched to your existing teeth, making them a good choice if you’re having silver amalgam fillings replaced.
How are inlays and onlays applied?
The procedure for applying inlays and onlays is very similar to that of a crown. Using a local anaesthetic to numb the area, your dentist will remove any decay, damage, and / or old fillings. An impression is then taken of the damaged tooth or teeth and sent to a dental laboratory, where an inlay or onlay is created. In the interim, a temporary restoration will be applied to your tooth to protect it until the next appointment.
When the inlay or onlay arrives, your dentist will remove the temporary restoration and fit the permanent one. Once a correct fit has been achieved, it will be bonded to your tooth with a durable resin adhesive. The restoration work is completed with a polish to ensure that the final result is both smooth and aesthetically pleasing.