What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays and Why Are They Recommended?

Cosmetic Dentistry Yonge and Eglinton Ontario

Has your dentist recommended that you get a dental inlay or perhaps a dental onlay? And are you wondering what he/she is talking about? If you have had cavities or other damage to your teeth in the past, you may be more familiar with dental fillings or crowns – but sometimes inlays or onlays may be recommended instead. 

What exactly are inlays and onlays? 

Dental inlays and onlays are a thin covering, usually made from porcelain, that are used to restore a tooth after there has been damage or decay. An inlay is often used when the damaged area does not include a cusp or prominent biting surface of the tooth, and an onlay is used when there is damage to a cusp or prominent biting surface. 

Generally speaking, an inlay or onlay will be recommended by your dentist when there is too much damage for a filling to reliably restore the tooth, but not so much damage that a crown is required.

Just like with a regular dental filling, the decayed or damaged area is cleaned up and an impression is taken. Once the inlay or onlay is fabricated with a lab, it is inserted. The process usually takes two dental visits to complete. During the first visit, your dentist will do any necessary cleaning and decay removal and then your tooth will be fitted with a temporary inlay or onlay. Next, an impression will be taken and sent to a lab so your permanent inlay or onlay can be made. The permanent restorations are made not only to be an exact fit of the area being filled, but they also match the colour of your teeth so they will look esthetic and natural. Once the permanent inlay or onlay is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary one and replace it with the much stronger permanent one. 

What are the benefits of inlays and onlays?

Dental inlays and onlays are an effective way of restoring decayed and damaged teeth. Benefits include:

  • They look very natural – it is nearly impossible for others to tell you have had work done to your teeth.
  • They allow you to preserve more of the natural tooth than a crown would.
  • They are an ideal solution for filling tricky cavities between the teeth.
  • They are extremely strong and durable. 
  • They resist staining.

If you are interested in learning more about dental inlays or onlays or think they may be a good treatment option for you, contact Town Smiles Dental today.