Inlays and onlays are dental restorations are provided by our staff at our clinic. In certain cases, they are a more conservative alternative to full coverage dental crowns. Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays offer a well-fitting, stronger, longer lasting reparative solution to tooth decay or similar damage. These restorations are beneficial from both an esthetic and functional point of view.
Inlays and onlays can often be used in place of traditional dental fillings to treat tooth decay or similar structural damage. Whereas dental fillings are molded into place within the mouth during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated indirectly in a dental lab before being fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth by your dentist.
The restoration is dubbed an “inlay” when the material is bonded within the center of a tooth. Conversely, the restoration is dubbed an “onlay” when the extent of the damage requires inclusion of one or more cusps (points) of the tooth or full coverage of the biting surface.
- Superior Fit: They offer a conservative preparation that preserves as much healthy tooth as possible. They are a great choice if you have minimal to moderate tooth decay that extends into a flossing area, offering an excellent alternative to full coverage crowns.
- Tooth Color: Boasting esthetic longevity, they are not likely to discolor over time as tooth-colored resin fillings often do.
- Tooth Structure Safeguard: They preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure while restoring decayed or damaged areas, helping to ensure functional longevity.
- Easy Tooth Cleaning: Because the fit is tailored at all edges and the preparation minimal, your tooth can be easier to clean than it would be with full coverage restorative alternatives such as a dental crown. Composite fillings can shrink during the curing process, whereas prefabricated porcelain or gold inlays/onlays will not (ensuring a precise fit).
- Tight Space Fulfillment: If you have a cavity between your teeth, consider an inlay rather than a direct composite filling. They are better at sealing teeth to keep out bacteria; they are easy to clean, will not stain and offer exceptional longevity.
- Strength and Stability: They are extremely stable restorative solutions for the treatment of decay. The superior fit and durable material make them a stable choice that can actually strengthen a damaged tooth.
- Weak Tooth Protector: An onlay can protect the weak areas of the tooth. The procedure does not require the complete reshaping of the tooth.
Typically, an inlay or onlay procedure is completed in two dental visits.
During your first visit, Dr. Vinod Chandel must prepare the damaged tooth. A molded impression of the tooth is then taken and sent to a dental laboratory, where the restoration is fabricated.
Inlays and onlays can be made from gold, porcelain or resin materials. The difference is in the appearance of the finished restoration. A fitted, provisional restoration (sometimes known as a temporary or “temp” for short) in the shape of the final restoration can be created during this visit to protect the tooth while the final restoration is being fabricated.
Dr. Vinod Chandel might discuss with you the best type of material to use. If aesthetics is not a concern (for example, with back molars), gold is the best option. Porcelain offers the best aesthetics and are often used in the “smile line” areas. Resin materials may be the best option for people who grind their teeth and/or those with a misaligned bite (malocclusion).
During your second visit, the provisional temporary is removed and your inlay or onlay is placed.
They are extremely stable restorations that seldom fail. Dr. Vinod Chandel will check all margins to ensure a smooth fit with tight adjacent contacts. Dr. Vinod Chandel will also check your bite to ensure that there are no occlusion-related problems affecting the margins of the restoration. Once fitted, the restoration is bonded onto the tooth and the margins are polished.
The materials used to fabricate inlays and onlays continue to evolve and become more natural and tooth-like in terms of structure, how they wear and their longevity. Their use for restorative purposes is not likely to be replaced by another treatment any time soon due to the combination of excellent functional longevity and esthetic naturalness associated with inlays and onlays. In fact, maintaining tooth color over the course of your lifetime may be further enhanced as the materials continue to improve, adding to the esthetic value of the restoration.