Inlays/onlays are designed to add strength to damaged teeth while restoring their appearance. We use dental inlays and onlays to restore a tooth that is too damaged to repair with a filling but not damaged enough to need a crown. Dental inlays and onlays save the healthy portion of an injured tooth and provide strength and stability for normal chewing. We thought we would show you the difference between inlays and onlays.
What are Inlays?
An inlay is used when there is no damage to the cusps of the tooth so the inlay can be placed right on the tooth. Cusps are the bumpy structures on the biting surface of your back teeth. These oral appliances are made of tooth-colored materials like porcelain or composite resin. Inlays use your existing tooth as a base for the inlay; this will strengthen the tooth, restore its shape and prevent future damage.
What are Onlays?
Onlays, also known as partial dentures, are similar to inlays because they are both used to treat decay and damage. The only difference comes in the amount of damage and the area treated. Onlays are used when the damage is more extensive, extending to one or more cusps.
Inlays/onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist and sent to a lab for fabrication. During your second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. Dr. Garrison will then make sure that the device fits correctly. Once the fitting is complete, the inlay/onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished.