When more than half of a tooth’s surface is damaged, an inlay or onlay may be used to correct the problem. Inlays and onlays are typically made from porcelain, gold, or a composite resin, which are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. Inlays, which are similar to fillings, are used inside the tips of the tooth. An onlay is applied for more substantial reconstructions, extending out over one or more of the tooth’s cusp areas.
Dental Inlays and Onlays at a Glance
Gold has been the material of choice for many inlay and onlay procedures, however in recent years porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and ability to match the color of teeth. It’s extremely durable and looks nearly identical to natural teeth.
How Inlays and Onlays are Applied
Two appointments are generally required to complete the process of applying inlays and onlays. During your initial visit, the damaged filling or area of teeth decay is removed, before preparing the tooth for an inlay or onlay application. To ensure a perfect fit and bite, your dentist will make an impression of your tooth and send it to a lab for expert fabrication. A temporary sealant will be applied to your tooth in preparation for your second appointment.
During your second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed and your dentist will inspect the area thoroughly to ensure that your new inlay or onlay will fit. Once it’s determined that everything looks good, the inlay or onlay is then bonded to your tooth using a strong resin, before being polished to a smooth finish.
Considerations for Onlays and Inlays
Many traditional fillings can actually reduce the strength of natural teeth by as much as 50 percent. Alternatively, inlays and onlays are bonded directly to teeth using a safe, yet highly durable resin that increases the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. This allows them to last and function properly for as long as 30 years. In situations where tooth damage is not extensive enough to warrant the application of a crown, onlays serve as an excellent alternative.
To learn more about the benefits of dental inlays and onlays, contact the cosmetic dental experts at Harborside Dental today and we’ll be happy to help. We’re located in Webster, NY and proudly serve the needs of patients throughout Rochester and all of Western NY. You can reach us by phone at 585-671-2720 or via email through our website’s contact page.