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Inlay & Onlay Restorations

Inlay and Onlay restorations are custom made fillings made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.  These are made by a professional dental laboratory and are permanently cemented to the tooth by your dentist.

It is easiest to think of the difference between the two restoration types like this: if the area of repair needed is mostly INside the tooth an INlay is ideal. If the area of repair is mostly ON the tooth, like something replacing a corner of the tooth, it is an ONlay. Onlays have sometimes been called half crowns. 

Both of these restorations can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.  These can be ideal alternatives to conventional silver and composite fillings.  Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.

As with most dental restorations, inlays and inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement.  They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for inlay and onlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.

What does getting an inlay or onlay involve?

These procedures usually requires two appointments.  Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration.  A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place.  A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay or onlay.

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