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First Impression

Inlays and Onlays

Many dentists turn to inlays and onlays when more than half of a tooth’s biting surface has become damaged.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Often made from gold, porcelain, or composite material, inlays and onlays are bonded to damaged areas of a tooth. Inlays are similar to fillings as they are inserted into the cusp tips of a tooth. Onlays are a more significant type of dental reconstruction. While they are similar to an inlay, they extend out and over one or several cusps of a tooth.

Gold was a traditional metal of choice for both inlays and onlays in previous years. However, modern advancements in dentistry have made it easier to enhance the strength of the teeth while matching a perfect color through porcelain inlays and onlays.

How Inlays and Onlays are Applied

Both inlays and onlays generally require two separate appointments for a complete procedure. The initial visit typically consists of a replacement of the tooth filling. Occasionally, the decayed or damaged tooth may need to be partially removed. The affected tooth is then prepped for the inlay or the onlay, depending on the patient’s needs. For a custom fit, an impression of the tooth is made and sent to a lab for fabrication. Until the lab is finished, a temporary sealant is applied to the tooth.

During the second appointment with the dentist, the temporarily sealant is taken off the tooth. Dr. Sandhu will then ensure that the inlay or onlay fits the tooth properly. It will then be bonded to the tooth using resin, and finally polished for a smooth and natural-looking tooth.

More Considerations

Traditional fillings are known to reduce the strength of your natural tooth by 50 percent or more. Inlays and onlays can actually boost the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. This can result in a natural, healthy tooth that can last upwards of 10 to 30 years.