Inlays and Onlays

When teeth become fractured, fillings are not always enough to repair the damage. Inlays and Onlays can be used to repair a damaged or decaying tooth with a laboratory-made material.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

An inlay can be used when a cavity is too large for a regular filling. An inlay fits restorative material into the center of the tooth, between the cusps. The piece is cemented into place for strength and stability.

An onlay can cover one or more cusps of a tooth with restorative material. An onlay might be required for large cavities, over an existing filling, or to repair fracture lines. In some cases, onlays can help avoid having to use a crown. A crown can lead to removing more tooth structure than needed, causing the tooth to weaken.

Inlays and onlays are stronger and last longer than traditional fillings. They are also less likely to experience discoloration because they are often made from porcelain, which closely matches the normal color of a tooth. Unlike regular fillings, inlays and onlays will not contract or expand. Instead, they are custom fit to ensure proper repair and support.

You Might Need an Inlay or Onlay When:

  • Damage is too severe for a filling
  • You have enough healthy tooth remaining to avoid a crown
  • You have an old filling that needs to be replaced or removed

What to Expect During Treatment

The process of applying inlays and onlays requires two appointments. In the first appointment, damage to the tooth will be assessed. The tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay by removing the damaged area of the tooth or filling that needs to be replaced. An impression of the tooth is made with dental putty and sent to the lab where the inlay or onlay will be created.  A temporary restoration will be applied until your next appointment.

At your second appointment, the temporary restoration will be removed and your inlay or onlay will be checked for a correct fit. If the inlay or onlay fits properly, it will be bonded to the tooth and polished. Both appointments for an inlay or onlay filling will take about an hour.

Contact us today to learn more about inlays and onlays or to schedule an appointment!