Placing an inlay or an onlay may be necessary if the tooth is damaged to the point of not being a candidate for a filling. By placing an inlay/onlay, the patient can eliminate tooth sensitivity in the decayed tooth, and it will also reduce the likelihood of losing that tooth altogether.
An onlay restores a large area of a tooth, while an inlay lies inside the tips (cusps) of the biting surface of the tooth. Inlays and onlays can be placed when teeth are cracked or are chipped.
Dental inlays and dental onlays are laboratory-processed ceramic restorations manufactured to match the natural color of the tooth. Inlays are approximately filling size without the inclination to break down over time the way that a traditional amalgam filling does, and they are firmly cemented in place. Onlays are slightly larger restorations, but they are still more conservative than a full-coverage crown.
Similar to a crown procedure, an inlay / onlay procedure typically requires two appointments. The decay and/or cracked filling will be removed during the first appointment. The tooth is then prepared and cleaned. An impression is taken of the tooth and is sent to the laboratory to manufacture the inlay / onlay which will match the shape, size, and color of the original tooth. A temporary inlay / onlay is placed at the end of the first visit. This allows the patient to partially regain natural appearance and function while waiting for the more durable permanent inlay or onlay. At the second visit, the temporary inlay / onlay is replaced with the permanent one that the lab has created.
If a dental onlay or dental inlay sounds like it may be the restoration that you’ve been looking for, give us a call! Even if you aren’t certain which procedure is right for you, Dr. Kalmanovich can walk you through each of your options during a comprehensive consultation. We love helping our patients achieve healthier and more beautiful smiles, and we hope to see you here soon!