Inlays and onlays are indirect dental restorations that reinforce an existing tooth that is too damaged to support a dental filling, but not damaged enough to require a crown. Inlays and onlays are known as indirect fillings because unlike a standard filling, both are made in a laboratory and cemented or bonded to the surface of the tooth during a second visit to our Denver office. Unlike standard fillings, inlays and onlays do not weaken the tooth structure, but actually strengthen it. After this restorative procedure the tooth can bear up to 50 – 75% more chewing force.
Because both are fabricated in a dental laboratory, it usually takes two or more appointments with Dr. Grabiak DMD, FAGD to restore a tooth with a porcelain inlay or onlay.
Both inlays and onlays are used to restore damaged teeth but there are differences in the two. Their use will depend on the damage to your teeth. Inlays fit within the grooves between the cusps, hence the name inlay. Onlays fit within the grooves and wrap up and over the cusps, covering more of the tooth’s surface. Dr. Grabiak DMD, FAGD will decide which is more appropriate for you based on the amount of decay of your teeth.
Inlays and onlays offer conservative preparation that doesn’t require removal of unnecessary tooth structure. Often with crowns the tooth needs to be reduced so that the restoration fits properly. In addition to their conservative application, inlays and onlays boast functional and aesthetic longevity. They are also easier to clean than dental crowns and are proven to help seal out bacteria better than a dental filling.
Much like the preparation for a dental crown, the procedure for inlays and onlays involves preparing the damaged tooth. After a mold of the tooth is taken and sent to a dental lab, the inlay or onlay is manufactured according to the exact specifics provided by Dr. Grabiak DMD, FAGD. When the restoration is ready to be placed, Dr. Grabiak DMD, FAGD will adhere it to your tooth and check for a smooth fit and functional durability. He will also check your bite to make sure your teeth are properly aligned. After the inlay or onlay has been bonded to your tooth it is then polished and you are free to go home smiling.