Inlays and Onlays

Both inlays and onlays are dental restorations that restore the integrity of a tooth, much like a filling or a crown does. An inlay consists of a solid substance, such as gold, porcelain or a composite resin. First, the dentist takes a mold of the tooth to be restored. The inlay is then created from the mold and formed to fit into your tooth. The difference between this and a filling is that the material is shaped and hardened before it’s placed into the tooth and cemented. This is often done instead of a filling when a direct restoration like a filling could cause the tooth to fracture more. Fillings also have a tendency to “shrink” as they harden inside the tooth. An inlay does not lose any volume once it’s placed, thereby making the restoration of the tooth more precise.

An onlay is created using the same procedure as the inlay. A mold of the tooth to be restored is taken and the material is shaped outside the mouth. The only difference is that the restoration is more extensive. The onlay replaces the tooth cusp where it has been worn down by decay or fractured. A dental crown is an onlay that completely covers the surface of the tooth.

Both of these dental restorations are designed to restore your bite and ease the process of chewing as well as prevent further infection of the tooth. If you’re having problems as a result of a decayed or broken tooth, make an appointment today to discuss the best ways to restore your teeth.