Dental Inlays & Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays are a restorative dental practice that repairs rear teeth that have been fractured, damaged or that have moderate to minor decay. Dental inlays and onlays are used when the damage or decay is not sufficient enough to require a crown. Patients who require dental inlays or onlays typically have too much damage for a filling to suffice, yet too little damage to the tooth and enough healthy structure remaining to necessitate a crown.
Benefits of Inlays and OnlaysThere are many benefits to using dental inlays or onlays to restore a tooth. One is that they allow us to preserve a healthy portion of the natural tooth. There are many more benefits to utilizing dental inlays or onlays instead of a dental crown or metal filling. They include:
They are sometimes used when an old filling needs repair or needs to be replaced. They are similar to a filling in that they fit into the cusp of the tooth; the difference being that the inlay or onlay extends over the tooth where a traditional filling does not.
Process of Placing a Dental Inlay or OnlayThe process of placing one of these restorations will take a total of two office visits to the dentist before the final bonding to the damaged tooth. The process of placing dental inlays and onlays are very similar.
If we determine that you need a dental inlay or onlay, we will first remove the old filling (where applicable). The area will be numbed with local anesthetic and then drilled out and cleaned to prepare to repair. Then, we will take a mold of the tooth needing repair using a small tray filled with dental putty, of which will be sent off to a lab. The lab will custom design the inlay or onlay based on the mold we take. The fixture will be made of gold, composite resin or porcelain. The dentist will place a temporary restoration over the damaged tooth, usually in the form of a filling, to be worn until the permanent restoration is completed and bonded.
Once the restoration is created, you will return to us to have the piece cemented into place. Once the restoration is placed, we will polish and smooth the material to ensure optimal comfort. The inlay or onlay should fit with the natural teeth in a disguised manner, where you should not be able to tell that the tooth has been treated – i.e. it should be natural and comfortable feeling.
Each visit to us in preparation for your dental inlay or onlay should take around one hour. You can expect that after having the restoration placed you might feel minor discomfort, but this should pass within a couple of days.