Inlays and onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are restorations used when a patient’s tooth has too much damage to be treated with a traditional filling, but enough healthy tooth to avoid receiving a crown. By using inlays and onlays, the dentist can preserve the remaining tooth structure.
Here at Greenwich Smiles, we often recommend inlays and onlays to our patients due to the various benefits they provide. Some of these benefits include:
- Durability: The material used to make inlays and onlays is extremely tough, making the restorations durable enough to last for up to 30 years.
- Strength: Inlays and onlays have been shown to strengthen teeth up to 75 percent, unlike traditional metal fillings.
- Prevention: The placing of inlays and onlays will help prevent future dental health complications and treatment.
A dental inlay fits inside the cusp tips (points) of the tooth. An inlay somewhat resembles a filling. The restoration consists of a solid substance, porcelain or composite resin, that is fitted to the tooth and cemented in place.
A dental onlay is more extensive than a dental inlay. An onlay covers one or more of the dental cusps, as well as the entire biting surface if needed. Onlays can be referred to as “partial crowns,” due to their extensive coverage.
It usually takes two appointments in order to receive an inlay or onlay. During the first appointment, the dentist will numb the area and remove any decay or damage. Once the area is clean, an impression of the tooth will be taken and sent to a laboratory to be made. During this time, we will provide you with a temporary restoration until the next appointment. During the second visit, the custom inlay or onlay will be checked for proper fitting and then bonded using a strong resin adhesive. The process is completed with a polishing of the restoration to make sure your smile is healthy and beautiful!
If you think an inlay or onlay may be the option for you to restore your smile, give our office a call at (203) 542-9333.