What Are Inlays and Onlays?

If more than half of a tooth is missing or decayed enough to affect the tooth’s integrity, a filling is no longer an appropriate course of action. Dr. Chiafair will then make the determination whether an inlay or onlay will be the most useful cosmetic dentistry procedure to restore the functionality of the tooth.

Both inlays and onlays are fabricated of porcelain, gold or composite resin in a dental lab according to the specifications of an impression taken by the dentist. An inlay, more similar to a filling, fits within the cusps, or raised points of the tooth. An onlay is much larger and covers more area, wrapping up and over the cusps. An onlay is typically used when damage to the tooth is more extensive and the restoration covers the entire chewing surface of the tooth.

After the decay and damage has been removed from the tooth, the impression is taken to ensure fit and bite and sent to the dental lab. Between visits, Dr. Chiafair will fashion a temporary restoration until the final product is ready to be bonded. At the time of bonding, the dentist will check to make sure that the fit and bite are correct. The area will be cleaned and the permanent restoration will be bonded and polished.

Contrary to traditional fillings, inlays and onlays which are bonded directly onto the tooth can increase the strength of the tooth. If you would like more information about dental inlays and onlays, please call Dr. Joseph Chiafair at Baymeadows Family Dentistry.