Inlays and Onlays
When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged or in certain other situations, a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay.
What are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. 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, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can more closely match the natural color of your teeth.
How are Inlays and Onlays Applied?
Inlays and onlays require two appointments 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. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist and sent to a lab for fabrication. Drs. Pollowitz and Brown will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. The doctor will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly, and it will be bonded to the tooth with a durable resin and polished to a smooth finish.
Considerations for Inlays and Onlays
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using high-strength resins, can at times increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent.
As a result, this treatmant can last from 10 to 20 years. In some cases, when the damage to the tooth is limited enough not to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide an excellent alternative.
Contact our office to learn more about your cosmetic dentistry options by calling 202-363-2500 or by filling out a contact for on our website.