Inlays and Onlays

When a tooth suffers damage that is too extensive to be treated with a simple filling — but not extensive enough to need a full-coverage crown — your best restorative option may be an inlay or onlay.

Inlays and onlays are both considered “indirect” fillings, which means that they are fabricated outside the mouth and then bonded to the tooth by the dentist. When one of these fillings fits within the little cusps of a premolar or molar, it is considered an inlay. The filling is considered an “onlay” if it covers one or more of these cusps.

Inlays and onlays are place the same way, which is very similar to what you would experience having a crown placed. However, there is one important distinction: less of your natural tooth structure will be removed. Dentistry’s goal is to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible, so inlays and onlays may be recommended instead of crowns when a tooth can be restored with this more conservative treatment.

When you get an inlay or onlay, the tooth and surrounding area will first be numbed with a local anesthetic. Then, the decay will be removed to prevent infection from progressing deeper into the tooth. Your dentist will make an impression (either digitally or with a putty-like material) to send to a dental laboratory where the final inlay or onlay will be made out of gold or a tooth-colored material.

A temporary filling will be attached to your tooth to protect it while your restoration is being prepared and then at your second visit, the permanent inlay or onlay will be attached to your tooth with either a resin or permanent cement.

Strong and long-lasting, inlays and onlays require no greater level of care than any other tooth. Conscientious daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings at the dental office are all you need to ensure your restoration will last for years to come.

Inlays and Onlays

When a tooth suffers damage that is too extensive to be treated with a simple filling — but not extensive enough to need a full-coverage crown — your best restorative option may be an inlay or onlay.

Inlays and onlays are both considered “indirect” fillings, which means that they are fabricated outside the mouth and then bonded to the tooth by the dentist. When one of these fillings fits within the little cusps of a premolar or molar, it is considered an inlay. The filling is considered an “onlay” if it covers one or more of these cusps.

Inlays and onlays are place the same way, which is very similar to what you would experience having a crown placed. However, there is one important distinction: less of your natural tooth structure will be removed. Dentistry’s goal is to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible, so inlays and onlays may be recommended instead of crowns when a tooth can be restored with this more conservative treatment.

When you get an inlay or onlay, the tooth and surrounding area will first be numbed with a local anesthetic. Then, the decay will be removed to prevent infection from progressing deeper into the tooth. Your dentist will make an impression (either digitally or with a putty-like material) to send to a dental laboratory where the final inlay or onlay will be made out of gold or a tooth-colored material.

A temporary filling will be attached to your tooth to protect it while your restoration is being prepared and then at your second visit, the permanent inlay or onlay will be attached to your tooth with either a resin or permanent cement.

Strong and long-lasting, inlays and onlays require no greater level of care than any other tooth. Conscientious daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings at the dental office are all you need to ensure your restoration will last for years to come.

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