Inlay & Onlay Restorations

Inlay and onlay restorations are custom-made fillings made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. These two types of restoration are essentially identical with the exception that onlays require the restoration of the chewing surface in addition to the filling. An onlay is sometimes referred to as a partial crown.

Inlays and onlays made of porcelain are most popular because once completed, they are virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding natural tooth. They are made by a professional dental laboratory and are permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.

These treatments can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. An inlay is an ideal alternative to a conventional silver or composite filling because it typically lasts longer and is more esthetically pleasing. An onlay can be a good alternative to a crown (cap) because less natural tooth structure is removed in the preparation.

As with most dental restorations, inlays and onlays are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

What does getting an onlay involve?

Either of these procedures will typically require two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom piece 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 the restoration piece. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay or onlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new inlay or onlay 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 newly restored tooth.