Inlays and onlays are perfectly engineered for mid-level dental damage. Small cavities or cracks in your tooth can be repaired with a composite filling. Using the same technique on large cavities, broken teeth, or fractured fillings may weaken the remaining tooth structure. Crowns are useful solutions for severe damage, but require removing a significant amount of the original tooth structure, so crowns are not recommended for moderate decay or repairs. Dental inlays and onlays fit right between fillings and crowns.
Inlays and onlays restore large cavities without having to use a crown. They differ only that inlays, as the name suggests, fills the space between the cusps of a tooth, while onlays fill the space in between and cover one or more cusps, or biting surface. For this reason, onlays are sometimes referred to as “partial crowns”. Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. They are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.
Inlays and onlays usually require two visits to your dentist. During the first appointment, Dr. Morrison will numb and clean the tooth and remove any decay or old filling. A precise impression will be made of the tooth’s structure. A temporary filling will be fit to your tooth to serve you until the next appointment. During your second visit, the temporary filling will be removed and permanent dental inlay or onlay will be cemented onto the tooth. Dr. Morrison will make minute adjustments to ensure an immaculate fit and comfortable bite.
If you have questions about inlays or onlays, contact our office to schedule a consultation.