Inlays and Onlays

When over 1/2 of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged a dentist will often use a dental inlay or dental onlay.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Dental inlays and dental onlays can be made of porcelain. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth; an onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, porcelain has replaced gold due to its strength and color which can match the color of your teeth.

How Are Dental Inlays and Dental Onlays Applied?

Thanks to computer technology through the use of Cerec®, inlays and onlays require one appointment to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. An optic impression is taken and a computer, Cerec®, is used to fabricate the final restoration.

Dr. Cress will make sure that the dental inlay or dental onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.

Dental Inlays and Dental Onlays As Filling Alternative

Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50%. As an alternative, dental inlays and dental onlays, being bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75%. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.